12 Years A Slave (UK/ USA, 2014)
Directed by Steve McQueen
Starring Chiwitel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Benedict Cumberbatch
IMDb Top 250: #118 (6/3/14)
Film fans have a very love-hate relationship with the Oscars. We love them, or at least put up with them, because they are a means of getting the general public to see more adventurous, unusual or sometimes challenging films, and they form the perfect icebreaker for film-related conversation. Likewise, we hate the Oscars for being a bad advert for the film industry, being out of touch, smugly self-satisfied, and usually getting it very, very wrong.
Shame, he now gives us the commodification of human beings into property, and the physical abuse given to slaves in the form of lashes, attempted hanging and rape. The film is deeply emotional but also disturbingly clinical, a very rare trick to have pulled off.
Mulholland Drive, sex has become the act of those who are hollow, desperate and defeated.
The Shawshank Redemption.
Byzantium. At times the plantations on which Northup works have a distinctly lyrical quality, reminiscent of the best work of Terence Malick. But as with Byzantium, there is plenty of room for harshness amongst the lavishness, and McQueen never lets the beautiful colours dominate proceedings or sanitise the violence.
NEXT REVIEW: Robin Hood (1973)