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crashmonitor

12 Years A Slave

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Saw this last night at the cinema and it was probably one of the most depressing films I have seen for a long time. Not sure how it has gained so many Oscar nominations either. Ejiofor, the UK actor playing the lead role, excepted.

I suppose Americans will just have to swallow the plot, or be accused of racism. The film is reasonably watchable at the start as Solomon is tricked into captivity, after which we are given one and a half hours of gratuitous violence which is hard to believe in 1830s US. We get slaves on the receiving end of rapes, lynching, whippings and kickings. No doubt this happened, but the film gives the impression that if you went out for a walk in the forest in the deep south you would naturally bump into slaves being summarily hanged as an hourly occurrence. Moreover the slaves are not whipped within an inch of their lives, but whipped so that they would actually be dead three times over. In particular a servant girl who is found with soap is whipped towards the end and then we are shown the unsurvivable wounds.

Brad Pitt makes a complete mess of his cameo at the end.

That said, the film does expose a very shameful period of the US history, even if the film maker has resorted to a bit of dramatic licence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25985917

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Saw this last night at the cinema and it was probably one of the most depressing films I have seen for a long time. Not sure how it has gained so many Oscar nominations either. Ejiofor, the UK actor playing the lead role, excepted.

I suppose Americans will just have to swallow the plot, or be accused of racism. The film is reasonably watchable at the start as Solomon is tricked into captivity, after which we are given one and a half hours of gratuitous violence which is hard to believe in 1830s US. We get slaves on the receiving end of rapes, lynching, whippings and kickings. No doubt this happened, but the film gives the impression that if you went out for a walk in the forest in the deep south you would naturally bump into slaves being summarily hanged as an hourly occurrence. Moreover the slaves are not whipped within an inch of their lives, but whipped so that they would actually be dead three times over. In particular a servant girl who is found with soap is whipped towards the end and then we are shown the unsurvivable wounds.

Brad Pitt makes a complete mess of his cameo at the end.

That said, the film does expose a very shameful period of the US history, even if the film maker has resorted to a bit of dramatic licence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25985917

I really enjoyed it as a film - thought it was quite horrifying and (shouldn't really say this given the subject matter) beautifully shot. Can't comment on the veracity of it though.

I totally agree about Brad Pitt being out of place. He played his part as though he were some kind of 19th century surfer-dude, with a shit-eating grin all the way through. Still, I guess they need their star pulling-power, as this Italian poster shows:

BcPZU_DCAAALcZC.jpg

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I couldn't stand half the scenes in Django unchained, so I'm gonna give this a miss.

Brilliant film. The violence in that was quite cartoonish I thought, typically Tarantino, always with a twist of dark humour. Still quite graphic, of course. I don't like the sound of this one though.

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Overall it was a decent film, but definitely way OTT. Like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer. Unfortunately as a result it played more like propaganda than story telling.

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Saw this last night at the cinema and it was probably one of the most depressing films I have seen for a long time. Not sure how it has gained so many Oscar nominations either. Ejiofor, the UK actor playing the lead role, excepted.

I suppose Americans will just have to swallow the plot, or be accused of racism. The film is reasonably watchable at the start as Solomon is tricked into captivity, after which we are given one and a half hours of gratuitous violence which is hard to believe in 1830s US. We get slaves on the receiving end of rapes, lynching, whippings and kickings. No doubt this happened, but the film gives the impression that if you went out for a walk in the forest in the deep south you would naturally bump into slaves being summarily hanged as an hourly occurrence. Moreover the slaves are not whipped within an inch of their lives, but whipped so that they would actually be dead three times over. In particular a servant girl who is found with soap is whipped towards the end and then we are shown the unsurvivable wounds.

Brad Pitt makes a complete mess of his cameo at the end.

That said, the film does expose a very shameful period of the US history, even if the film maker has resorted to a bit of dramatic licence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25985917

Given that by the 1830s slaves were fairly valuable possessions that could not easily be replaced due to the British navy choking off the supply flogging them to death on a regular basis would have been an astoundingly dumb thing to do. The mere fact of treating other human beings as property is surely reason enough to condemn slavery so it does not require the overkill that most modern films bring to the subject. This same sort of contortion of history was seen in the TV series Roots where a group of 4 or 5 white men were shown catching Kunta Kinte in a net and then hauling him off to captivity. No one seemed to question whether employing 4 blokes to capture a single slave made very good economics particularly when the slave market required vast numbers of individuals. Of course, the reality was that the vast majority of Africans sold into slavery to European traders had been captured in inter tribal wars by their fellow Africans but that does not make for such simple polemical story telling

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Given that by the 1830s slaves were fairly valuable possessions that could not easily be replaced due to the British navy choking off the supply flogging them to death on a regular basis would have been an astoundingly dumb thing to do. The mere fact of treating other human beings as property is surely reason enough to condemn slavery so it does not require the overkill that most modern films bring to the subject. This same sort of contortion of history was seen in the TV series Roots where a group of 4 or 5 white men were shown catching Kunta Kinte in a net and then hauling him off to captivity. No one seemed to question whether employing 4 blokes to capture a single slave made very good economics particularly when the slave market required vast numbers of individuals. Of course, the reality was that the vast majority of Africans sold into slavery to European traders had been captured in inter tribal wars by their fellow Africans but that does not make for such simple polemical story telling

Racist.

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Of course, the reality was that the vast majority of Africans sold into slavery to European traders had been captured in inter tribal wars by their fellow Africans but that does not make for such simple polemical story telling

That's an interesting point, because this film deliberately avoided that angle and went for a highly unusual (though true) story of a free man being drugged and kidnapped. It made for a more dramatic film, but if we're looking at slavery historically it had little relevence.

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I wonder how much support you would get if you proposed to make a film about the Barbary pirates and their abduction rape/torture of over 1m Europeans in the preceding century?

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Racist.

Sorry I could not reply sooner but I had to vote in the election of a new chief wizard for our local branch of the KKK

Your Orange Pips are in the post

Anyway slavery is evil not because it involves brutality and cruelty (god knows 18th century England treated its own poor with little mercy), or dare I say it even racism, but because owning ones fellow human beings as chattels is wrong - period. If all slave owners were paragons of virtue who treated their slaves with exemplary care and kindness it would still be reprehensible. Sadly, this point is missed by most films on the subject which seem to show a rather unhealthy relish for depicting rape, torture and lynchings.It makes you wonder what they are really peddling .

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