[Review] Brutal, beautiful contender

[Review] Brutal, beautiful contender

The film 12 Years a Slave will make your heart grieve, but also sing in celebration of an amazing strength of spirit.

British director Steve McQueen's movie is all the more remarkable because it is based on a true story. His compatriot, Chiwetel Ejiofor, stars as Solomon Northup, a black man whose happy life is turned upside down.

The educated violinist is born a free man in New York state. He is abducted, and taken to the Deep South and sold as a slave.

He is passed between owners, tortured and even left for dead, yet remains determined to lift his spirits and those of his fellow slaves.

It's not an easy film to watch because of the many intense, heartbreaking scenes: lynchings, whippings, assaults. These episodes force us to witness the brutal reality of slavery - and question how things could have been allowed to go so wrong.

Ejiofor impresses with his ability to convey suffering with the simplest of facial expressions on his face; the equally mesmerising Michael Fassbender's turn as the demonic plantation owner will chill you to the bone.

It's no surprise this has been nominated for nine Oscars.

Contains graphic scenes

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Brutal, beautiful contender

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