6 Things To Know Before Watching '12 Years A Slave'

I was lucky enough to attend a private screening of 12 Years A Slave last night. I purposely read nothing on the film or watched any trailers as I find sometimes that can cause a preconception that could be damaging to the intended impact. The only introduction I had was that it could possibly be Steve McQueen's greatest masterpiece, and after seeing the epic creations that were Hunger and Shame... I knew I was in for a bumpy ride.

1. It's based on a true story

Solomon Northup was born as a free man and a citizen of New-York and then kidnapped in Washington city in 1841 and sold into slavery. He was rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana and went on to write the memoir and slave narrative 'Twelve Years A Slave'.

2. It's rough from the start

Brutal scenes in films can be hard to watch but the lead up to them can be preparation enough. Steve McQueen doesn't really seem to give a shit whether you're ready or not, be prepared for this to smack you in the face before you can dip into your pick n mix.


3. There is rape

I know people who would find it very difficult to sit through a rape scene in any film and that's why I think it's important that again, you're prepared. The actress who is involved is playing a young girl, it's as raw and unpleasant as you can imagine.

4. Brad Pitt's part is small

...And a little disappointing. The Italian marketing team for the film have come under fire as they produced two posters; one of Michael Fassbenders big white head and the other of Pitts. Brad Pitt is in the film for about five minutes  and to be honest, he's just being Brad Pitt.


5. Chiwetel Ejiofor

...playing Solomon Northup, is absolutely phenomenal. His humble character portrayal of Solomon Northup is inspiring and reaches heroic heights. Be prepared to be wowed.

6. The music is epic

Hans Zimmer who brought us masterpieces such as The Lion King, Gladiator and Inception, is also responsible for 12 Years A Slave. The music draws you in and creates an intensity that only Zimmer can.

If you do decide to go to the cinema this weekend, I can't recommend this film highly enough. Once you have prepared yourself for something that is as much a history lesson as it is a horror film, then you're in for a treat.

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Kate Breslin

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