I might as well get ready for the hate mail for this review…
I don’t understand how this picture won Best Picture. Now I think most people understand there are movies that while they are great, they aren’t necessarily films you WANT to watch over and over again but you NEED to have watched them at least once. Films like Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, and even Hotel Rwanda. (And how Don Cheadle didn’t win an Oscar for that performance is beyond me.)
While the subject matter of the illegal kidnapping of free blacks in the north to be used as slaves in the South is Oscar worthy, the actual story-telling dragged in the film. In fact, the middle act of the film seems very slow and lost at points.
Will Solomon Northup (the main character) run? Will he fight for his fellow slaves and his freedom? Is any white man good in the South? How in the world could the Scriptures be twisted so much to support what was happening on plantations all across the South?
I left the film confused as to how I should feel about Solomon Northup. Is he brave and courageous for surviving those years as a slave or was that just being a coward? Was him not taking more chances to get free courageous or cowardice? Why did he only become involved in the abolition movement after he experienced the horrors of being a slave? Is that commendable?
There are some very moving scenes in the film and it was finely acted but it’s not a film that is going to make my must see list. Much to slow for my liking.