Cards on the table – this is not an easy film to watch. And I’m glad, too, because nothing about this man’s experience should be easy to watch.
To the people who complain about there being so much violence in the film – IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. SLAVERY ACTUALLY HAPPENED. THIS IS NOT INVENTED IN ORDER TO WIN AN OSCAR. THIS IS PART OF HISTORY AND SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
Rant over, I will continue.
Director Steve McQueen has taken this difficult story and made it work on-screen. The beauty of the photography contrasts with the ugliness of the behaviour, and we are compelled to watch brutal scenes because they matter.
The performances are excellent. To mention just two: Michael Fassbender is a monster, driven by inner demons he cannot allow himself to face – which are in no way allowed to serve as an excuse for what he does. And Chiwetel Ejiofor is haunting. He is in just about every shot, and manages to convey that which he cannot speak by a furrow of his brow or a fleeting expression of bewilderment.
After two hours of calmly observing and taking in all the horrors offered up, it was the last scene which reduced me to tears with its unbelievable humanity.
This is, I think, the first time where I have felt that I have not really been able to explain how I feel about a film. It is complex, difficult, brutal and beautiful. It deserves all of the plaudits and none of the reservations.
It should be seen by everyone, no excuses.