I was speaking with independent film producer /director, Rane Parish and she pointed out that the lead actor in "12 YEARS A SLAVE" does not show a wide range of emotions, even though he is in most of the scenes. I agreed with her, but I realized why -- the story in not about him, though his character, Solomon Northup, is the real life author of the tale.
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is our guide to a world of deceit, cruelty, abuse, hatred and inhumanity, that is so beyond the pale, it has to be true, you can't make up this level of evil. Director Steve McQueen ( no relation to the late, great actor )does not fire up the emotional fuel present in a great many scenes - if you are a decent person, you will provide the passion without any special theatrics from the characters.
The abuse given to the slave known as Patsey, played by -- actually I should say, bought to life by -- LuPita Nyong'o , will bring tears to your eyes. The mindless evil of slave owners, Paul Giamatti, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson and many others will sicken you.
Brad Pitt, plays a small, but crucial role in this story.
The real strength of this movie, is to convey the hopelessness of the people trapped in the evil bondage of slavery,there is virtually no chance for heroic actions or escape. There is not one laugh in this film and that is a tribute to how intense it is in showing the facts of man's inhumanity to man.
This is a powerful film and it will wear you down with the weight of the evil it presents.