'12 Years a Slave' appears to be far more hard-hitting than many expected.
Also featuring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Paul Giamatti, the movie appears to be a far more hard-hitting than many were expecting with some writers suggesting it tells the real story of the pre-civil war period in the United States of America, as opposed to, say, Quentin Taratino's Django Unchained.
Ejiofor plays a free black New Yorker who is sold into slavery after being lured to Washington DC with the promise of a well-paid job playing fiddle in a circus.
Based on the true story of Solomon Northup, the movie follows his journey into slavery in Louisiana until his rescue in 1853 when a friend managed to get word out to his family. Northup's wife fought in court to free him from slavery.
McQueen - now considered one of the most progressive filmmakers in Hollywood after Hunger and the fantastic Shame - appears to have hit the spot again with 12 Years a Slave. Though Tarantino's Django Unchained gained an Oscar nomination, it was clearly never written as a true document of slavery and it drew criticism in some quarters for its liberal use of the 'N' word.
McQueen's movie stars Michael Fassbender as a cruel plantation owner, while British star Benedict Cumberbatch plays a Baptist preacher and slave owner. Producer Brad Pitt features, as does Paul Dano and The Wire's Michael K Williams.
Northup's book Twelve Years a Slave - on which the movie is based - helped historians put together a picture of the slave experience at the time. Following his rescue, he became a prominent exponent of the abolitionist movement and lectured on slavery in the north-east US, according to the Guardian.
12 Years a Slave is 11/1 to win Best Picture at the Oscars in February 2014. Worth a couple of bucks, we reckon.
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