A black man who has already obtained his freedom sees off his wife and kids leave town for work. Being a violinist, he gets a plush offer to play in a circus run by two wealthy individuals, who ask him to shift to their place. Upon receiving his first pay, he gets drugged in a party, to finally wake up being chained and thrown inside a cellar. The rest of the story deals with his journey back to slavery and his journey through innumerable number of masters.
Running Time:
134 mins
Release date:
8 November 2013
Directed by:
Steve McQueen
Produced by:
Brad Pitt
Dede Gardner
Jeremy Kleiner
Steve McQueen
Bill Pohlad
Written by:
John Ridley
Based on:
Twelve Years a Slave by
Solomon Northup
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Michael Fassbender
Benedict Cumberbatch
Paul Dano
Paul Giamatti
Lupita Nyong’o
Sarah Paulson
Music by:
Hans Zimmer
Shot by:
Sean Bobbitt
Editing by:
Joe Walker
Distributed by:
Fox Searchlight Pictures

What’s Hot

  • Based on a true story with the same name, the movie has touched upon real life, that of the unholy din of slavery and its vicious arms that was spread across the 18th century United States.
  • The protagonist, Chiwetel Ejiofor has carried his role with relative ease and emotes well whenever the situation demands displaying sadness, despair, despondency with elan. There are a lot of instances in the movie where he has produced a wonderful display of acting skills with the protagonist having to mono-act with no dialogues. A majestic performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor indeed!
  • The supporting cast, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest play their roles to perfection. Lupita Nyong’o deserves a special mention for her portrayal of Patsy.
  • The director has picturised the movie with very good detail, showcasing the abuses that were meted out to the slaves, the classical one being whiplashes to the erring slaves. He has also portrayed the true nature of the oppressing section of the crowd during those times.
  • Hans Zimmer has delivered excellent compositions to aid the movies emotions and fills in dialogue-less silence with his score.

What’s Not

  • There is too much of violence and crude content which can be disturbing at times.
  • Since the movie is based on a true story, it is at times predictable and long.



Verdict Stamp

Brad Pitt should be proud of producing this movie with Steve McQueen directing a real life story with such detail and grandeur. 12 years a slave showcases the brutal realities of the 18th century United States' slavery when racism was at its peak in addition to offering hope and commitment as valuable lessons of life.