12 Years A Slave

I went down into the city and found a place that was playing 12 Years A Slave today.  I am leaving a review.

I’ve said on this blog before that I had a childhood friend who had an interest in books that got into the minds of serial killers.  Watching this movie was not unlike reading the books I borrowed from her, in the sense that it’s very important to know about them, but it’s equally important to know how to then put them away so that they don’t psychologically overwhelm you.  I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t see this movie.  On the contrary, it’s very important that people know it happened to human beings.  But I am warning you that the film is very graphic in many respects.

The way these people are treated is shown in great detail.  When they’re whipped you see the mess of their backs.  Sexual abuse is physically shown in one scene.  The actors, particularly the actor who plays the main character Solomon, do a good job of showing the degeneration of dignity and the growing desperation that the people who are enslaved go through.  Almost as big as the physical impact is the emotional impact — even the emotional and psychological impact on the slavers is discussed, which I thought was an interesting addition.

Though what is going on is very clear in every part of the movie, it is somewhat anachronistic in some places and visuals or audios from scenes sometimes tend to blur into each other.  This leads to a feel of the so-called ‘never ending journey’, and gives a further look into how the main characters themselves must be feeling.

The end is a painful, bittersweet, touching, and hopeful one.  If you do not feel at least somewhat emotional watching it, I regret to inform you that you may not have a soul.  I’m terribly sorry.

It is not a movie I would want to watch over and over again, but I almost say that is a credit to the movie.  It not a movie that is meant to be enjoyed.  Though this term is vastly overused, I mean it when I say it is one of those ‘important movies.’  I am glad I went to see it, but I am now planning on turning my brain off for the rest of the night and not thinking of it again.


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