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To want 12 Years a Slave to win all the Oscars?(43 Posts)
I saw this film last week and I was blown away by it! Not just the subject matter which was powerfully handled but the acting, the direction, the cinematography and the screenplay. I don't know how Oscars are decided but its a masterpiece IMO and deserves recognition. Film students will be studying it for years and Steve McQueen is a genius...
What do people think?
I loved it. I can't see how it could be described as a happy ending, I thought it was implicit that while one character "got away", many more were left to suffer a terrible fate. Haven't seen any of the other films nominated, I don't think, so it would be difficult to judge the Oscar-worthiness.
This is what I wrote on a thread shortly after I'd seen it
I saw it a couple of days ago and I didn't like it. I couldn't connect with any of the characters much because they were all so thinly written. Mr Epps was probably the strongest and even he was a bit pantomime villain at times. I felt disconnected from what was happening on screen because the characterisation was too simplistic. Horrible and distressing story lines not compensate for lack of writing. There was interesting stories to be told, which weren't told (Patsey, the woman on the boat whose family was split, Mrs Epps, the non speaking extra slaves).
There was a lot of what slavery was, in the Deep South, at that point in history, and not enough of either the actual story that was supposed to be told or any of the surrounding stories.
I think it could have been an excellent TV series but beyond the scope of a film. Part of the problem, I imagine, is that part of his coping mechanism was to shut down, which doesn't make for good storytelling.
I think it is 'important' and 'powerful' in the sense of it shows, graphically, what slavery is and reminds us that we are standing on broken backs, but I don't think it was a well written film that told a story well and Brad Pitt was almost as shit as he was in Inglorious Bastards
...at the end it just popped up about him trying to get justice against the kidnappers and slave pen owners and not being able to because of not being able to give evidence against a white man, and about his abolition work and running underground escape routes but all of that was left out in preference to a sort of Slavery 101 lesson teaching us what slavery is but never advancing to what it means or what it does or it's legacy. There was more to the story than was told. Why was he such a hot shot in the beginning? Why was the shopkeeper fawning on him? Why did that slack-jawed kid run in the shop to gawp at him?
He was obviously an incredible man but that is hard to portray if you concentrate solely on he period in his life when he tried to keep his head down.
I think that there were some very well done/powerfully filmed shots but overall I was left thinking I should 'like' it because the subject matter is so important and it's a true story of almost unimaginable evil but I just couldn't connect to it at all. I actually think what messed it up for me was the first 5 min when he was the fashionable man about town - it was clumsy and amateurish scene setting and didn't fit with the gravitas of the rest of the film.
Interesting that one person says there was too much for a film, whilst another says it could have been done in an hour long documentary!
I think that the questions you ask Daykin are kind of straightforward. To me, it was clear that he was a hotshot because of his talents, the shopkeeper fawned over him because he was a wealthy customer, and the boy in the shop was surprised that another black man was so clearly well-to-do. But really, that's just background. The story was about his kidnapping and his life as a slave.
I really struggled to buy that a black fiddle player was that much of a big shot and the way it was done was a bit Victoria Woods Lark Pies to Cranchesterford or a French and Saunders skit of Dickens, which was a shame considering how well shot and nuanced some of the following scenes were.
I think what they actually did in the film could have been done in a 1 hour documentary - but I would have preferred to see more - the stories of the other characters, his rise as a black man in that society, his wife when he was missing, his legal battle when he returned and the underground escape networks he worked on.
But it's a true story! Maybe it wasn't common for a black person to have such a privileged position in society, but it did happen.
I agree it would be interesting to know what happened to his wife and children. But then, I could always read the book. The film was about his journey.
The story doesn't fill in any details regarding his wife and children's lives during the 12 years he was a slave.
I haven't seen the film but have just finished reading the book. Am I right in getting the impression he is portrayed as quite wealthy to begin with in the film? If so I think they've taken some artistic license there as that's not the impression one gets from the book. He's free and comfortable but certainly not some kind of black American aristocrat.
The book is quite mild in it's depiction of slavery, even he admits at the end that he hasn't dwelled on the more horrific aspects - so if the film seems tame it's not solely down to Hollywood sanitizing.
Am not convinced I want to see the film tbh - did think it might be too upsetting initially, now I just wonder if I'd be disappointed. Think I'll probably wait for the DVD.
isshoes I know - that's what everyone on the other thread piled in and told me. I still thought it was badly written, or at least not well written, and at times badly directed/acted. I 'get' that Steve McQueen decided to make a film about a specific man and to concentrate solely on that specific mans 12 year experience with very little about what happened before or after but I think those confines made the film lack depth. It's like that saying - "One man's death tells you more than a thousand." except it didn't. Maybe I was expecting too much.
DumSpiroSpero it's not tame. It has been described as torture porn and whilst I wouldn't go that far, it is almost unwatchable at points. Possibly that's where the disconnect came from - for me.
I really didn't like it! The horrific brutality went on way too long! I don't like the title, because you knew he wasn't getting away for a good while! And the reunion at the end could have been much longer, I wanted to hear the thoughts and explanations! Would not recommend it.
Daykin I suspected the film might be harder to watch than the books was to read in that respect.
Although the book was not as horrific as I was expecting there are a couple of very distressing scenes that I imagine will not only be in the film, but possibly ramped up for effect to some extent which is one of the reasons I'm not keen to dash out and see it tbh.
Just wondering why I used the word 'tame' - was basing that on a comment up thread that it 'wasn't harrowing enough to be realistic'.
Was trying to make the point that the book isn't especially harrowing (and I'm a total softie!) but is obviously Solomons actual account.
Does make one wonder how much he subconsciously blanked out when recollecting his time as a slave as my overriding impression from the book was that his experiences were nowhere near add bad as I expected them to be (am sure they were and that plenty endured much worse but there wasn't pages and pages of torture and suffering).
I think it is the best film I've seen in ages. The relationship between the characters and the choices made tell us do much about humanity.
Not an easy topic but a fabulous film.
I thought it was excellent.
Am off to see Dallas Buyers Club at the weekend.
YABU I thought it was heavy handed over acted manipulative tosh. We both hated it. Sorry.
As long as 'Let It Go' from Frozen wins best song, Sharknado could sweep the rest of the board for all I care
Out if interest, manipulative how?
I don't watch film award shows. A bunch of over-paid people congratulating themselves, yawn! My life is miserable enough without paying to see misery films.
Chiwetel Ejiofor hasn't won any of the major awards he's been nominated for so far so don't fancy his chances for the Oscar - think it will go to Matthew McConaughey
As a cinematic exeperience I much preferred American Hustle to 12 Years. Am hopefully going to see Dallas Buyers Club this weekend
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