12 Years a Slave


Here’s a truly great film… That is not quite the greatest, in my opinion. As is often the case, I find myself thinking that what is supposed to be the year’s Best Picture isn’t. Again, in my opinion.

A lot of people I respect are praising it to high heavens and I can understand why: it tells a powerful story, the direction is impeccable and the cast led by the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor delivers a series of particularly strong performances.

And yet I can’t say I was all that moved by “12 Years a Slave”. Sure, slavery is one of the most horrible things ever imagined by mankind. The film makes this plainly obvious, but we already knew that, right? Still, this should affect me more, but for some reason, the tears didn’t come.

Intellectually, I was horrified by all the pain and humiliation the African-American characters suffer through, I was impressed by how Ejiofor’s character manages to survive with his dignity intact somehow and I thoroughly despised the slavers played by Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and others.

But it remained an intellectual experience for me, never quite reaching me emotionally. So while I admire it, I’m not sure I’ll include it in my year-end top ten.