New York in 1841 and talented violinist Solomon Northup is approached by a duo offering well paid work with a travelling show. Northup decides to take the job, leaving his family behind.
Unfortunately the potential employers are really particularly devious slave traders who specialise in kidnapping free black people (men, women and children) and selling them into slavery.
So begins Solomon’s ordeal as he is quickly stripped of his identity and told by other captives that he will undoubtedly be killed if he reveals himself as an educated man.
The examples of human cruelty endured and witnessed are soul-destroying to watch. From the young boy made to run on the spot for a future master to a hard working girl’s life being made unbearable when she becomes the apple of her master’s eye. This and many more of the same are perpetrated in full view of all around who meekly get on with their business as they are fearful for their own lives.
Performances all round are fantastic with Chiwetel Ejiofor delivering a powerhouse display as the always dignified Solomon. Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o are also fantastic.
12 Years A Slave is a bit of an endurance test for the audience, there is no let up in the despair, leaving the viewer emotionally drained when it ends. However, this true story is a moving account of one man’s journey through a very dark period in American history.
Ric’s Rating: Highly Recommended.