Review by Pete Mason
If there was to be a counterbalance to “Django Unchained,” it is “12 Years a Slave,” the harrowing and unfathomable tale of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man tricked into traveling to Washington, D.C. and ending up in chains for over a decade. With no method to free himself, he survives and finds his way back home after many years of witnessing the worst of humanity on display in the southern United States.
An accomplished fiddle player from Saratoga Springs, Northrup is a family man who embarks on a trip with a dapper and convincing Hamilton (SNL’s Taran Killam) and Brown (Scott McNairy) to the south, where he awakes in chains and told that his name is Platt and he’s a runaway slave from Georgia. Not used to taking orders from incompetent overseers and masters, Northrup does as he is told, but not at the expense of his hard labor. Although he is stuck in the south and left with no choice but to adapt and survive, he isn’t taking the beatings and verbal abuse lightly.