12 Years a Slave [Blu-ray] [2013]

  • SKU: 3282128
  • Release Date: 03/04/2014
  • Rating: R
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews


Overall Customer Rating:
97% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (737 out of 767)

Special Features


  • A historical portrait
  • Explore Director Steve McQueen's unique artistry in bringing this remarkable story to life in this documentary including cast and crew interviews
  • The team
  • The score

Synopsis


12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejifor as Solomon Northup, a free black man in 1840s America. He makes his living as a fiddle player, and his wife is a teacher. He is shanghaied by a pair of nefarious white men, and soon finds himself on a ship headed to New Orleans where he is informed he will be called Platt and is sold into slavery by an unscrupulous businessman (Paul Giamatti). As he toils away for the kindhearted but conflicted plantation owner Mr. Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), who recognizes that Platt is both educated and an artist, he butts head with Ford's underlings, especially the casually cruel Tibeats (Paul Dano). After they have a violent altercation, Ford fears for his slave's life and sells him to Mr. Epps (Michael Fassbender), an alcoholic sadist who owns a cotton plantation. Though Epps reads from the bible to his property, as he frequently refers to his slaves, he is himself not immune to sins of the flesh. He has taken the young Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) - his best cotton picker -- as his lover, and this doesn't sit well at all with his severe wife (Sarah Paulson), whose particular hatred for blacks and her jealousy fuels her many degrading actions toward Patsey. Solomon bides his time, attempts to preserve a modicum of self-respect, and waits for the chance to reclaim his rightful name as well as his family. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Cast & Crew


  • Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Chiwetel Ejiofor - Solomon Northup
  • Michael Fassbender
    Michael Fassbender - Edwin Epps
  • Brad Pitt
    Brad Pitt - Bass
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
    Benedict Cumberbatch - Ford
  • Paul Giamatti
    Paul Giamatti - Freeman



Overall customer rating

4.7
97%
would recommend to a friend
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Best film of 2013

    Posted
    RossWMartin
    • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

    Based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, "12 Years a Slave" is the best film of the year, and it offers a stunningly sincere glimpse into one of the darkest periods in our country’s history. Director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) avoids treading carefully around a difficult subject and instead delivers a frightening and explicit portrait of a palpable hell on Earth. The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man and talented musician living in New York in the mid-1800s who is tricked and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Removed from his home and confused family, Northup spends the following years picking cotton, carpentering, and being mercilessly beaten on a regular basis by numerous southern slave owners. If it isn’t already apparent, this is not an easy or enjoyable film to watch. However, a depiction of this story presented any other way would be a disgrace to the subject matter, and its powerful images help a 21st century audience at least begin to understand the horrors of this disgusting past reality. "12 Years a Slave" effectively transcends cinema and becomes an obligatory experience when considering the shortcomings of non-visual works in literature, textbooks, or articles. Led by a bold script from John Ridley, fearless direction by Steve McQueen, and perfect performances by long-time talent Chiwetel Ejiofor and a big-name supporting cast, "12 Years a Slave" stands as a definitive representation of American slavery in cinema, and it will be a long remembered and respected film of great importance.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Lived up to Critical Acclaim

    Posted
    Cratyiconoclast
    • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    12 Years a Slave portrays the vicious hell slavery was. Legally labeling fellow humans as "beasts" and mercilessly abusing them at will was shockingly normal. Sarah Paulson was especially chilling as the jealous wife. I was appalled at Paul Giamatti's corrupt evil trafficker. Solomon Northup's memoir was brought to life without sparing any injustice. Film buffs now have a new standard reference for realism of that era's common atrocities. Very hard but critical to watch. 12 Years a Slave was voted 2014 Best Picture. Remove the Southern accents & introduce a Mediterranean setting and you could easily tell the same type of story in ancient Rome or Sparta. But this horror story is American, all too true, and not a unique story. What is unique is Solomon's education & dedication in committing his survival to a shocking memoir. Solomon's story became an eyewitness to what has become a lost, now recaptured history. 12 Years a Slave demonstrates the power of film. Most would not think to seek a slave's memoir as compelling drama in the written word. On screen, indignity, humiliation, and evil become impossible to ignore. Lupita N'Yongo was perfectly cast as the Master's favorite. Under slavery, something as mundane as soap can change lives like a head-on collision. 12 Years a Slave is a remarkable cinematic achievement. I hope one day becomes a staple easy reference for discussing humans' inhumanity as Huckleberry Finn is now. Daniel J. Delph, Glasgow, Kentucky

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Timely and Sobering

    Posted
    madmak
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    This film has had a great deal of publicity, so I don't think I need to describe the storyline. The acting is uniformly excellent. I've seen Chewitel Ejiofor in a wide variety of roles, from a drag performer in "Kinky Boots" to an assassin in "Serenity," and I've never once caught him acting. Lupita Nyong'o was stunningly good in her role, as were the other cast members. The film didn't shy away from showing the worst aspects of slavery, including the toxic effect it had on slaveowners's lives and relationships. My only negative comments are about the material from the book that was left out of the film or truncated: Solomon's life as a freeman before his abduction; his escape into the bayou and encounter with the native people; his relationship with Bass (Brad Pitt); and the time span between when Bass mailed Solomon's letter to New York and the arrival of the men who freed him (which seemed to happen overnight, when in fact it was several months). Not all of these are critical to the story, but excluding them compressed the perceived time frame more than I'd have liked. With any luck, there will be an extended edition that includes some of this material. I've often struggled to understand how we humans can do so much evil, and have perhaps assumed that I was incapable of it. What this film demonstrates is that any of us could be capable of horribly evil acts, given the right combination of upbringing and circumstances.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Truly disappointed, too much hype

    Posted
    TheMightyThor
    • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

    I like most movies but how this beat out Dallas Buyers Club and others is a mystery to me, sincerely. The movies starts out interesting for fifteen to twenty minutes, drags for an hour, ends with very little plot and wraps in minutes. Brad Pitt, why, to please his wife? To appear a champion of people's rights? Twelve sentences in the whole movie and just to end up the savior of the betrayed, pathetic. I had listened to rave after rave and I have to say this is a long, arduous, movie to get through, due to the slow progression of its vehicle to get to the destination. I understand the subject matter clearly coming from minority roots but Glory with Denzel, Morgan and Matthew was way better at displaying the strife. I love my movies and watch all over and over, I tried to watch this a second time and found myself so disappointed with what this movie could have been that I just couldn't keep focused. I would suggest rental only, just for the view, do not invest for your library or you will regret it. I also, do not understand how it took the oscars it did. A movie should achieve oscars on real merit, this did not. I grow tired of movies championing this poisonous time in our civilizations growth and getting the award simply to please the masses. It was not a bad movie but it was not what it was described or rated either.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Great teaching movie

    Posted
    AndreaLM
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    I purchased a copy of 12 Years a Slave for myself and for my parents. My parents watched it first and suggested that I watch their copy before I opened my own in case I didn’t care for the movie as they weren’t that impressed. I must say that my opinion of the movie was vastly different than theirs. I feel this movie is a keeper for those who have a personal library collection. For those who want to watch a movie strictly for entertainment, 12 Years a Slave is not for you. There is a lot going on and it is important that you are focused or you will miss some of the things that make this movie a masterpiece. This is not the type of movie that you finish watching and say, “that was good”. It is the type of movie you want to watch with others and discuss it, pose questions, dig deeper into the subjects that were presented; similar to a book club. I can totally see why high schools across the country are ordering it to use as a teaching instrument. The only “criticism” that I have is that the movie is light in dialogue, however the excellent acting done makes up for it. 12 Years a Slave is totally worth watching and in my opinion buying.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Effective, haunting, amazing...

    Posted
    FlyBoyNights
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    Considering that this film currently stands as the 3rd lowest grossing best picture Oscar winner, I was worried that many viewers found reasons to avoid this film. I also chose to opt out of the theater experience, but purchased it the very day it arrived on the home market. I certainly see why it was avoided, its so unflinchingly realistic. Everything. Every aspect. This film does not let you avoid the brutalities that took place during the slave trade. However, every aspect of the film is done with an undeniable amount of mastery. The acting is superb. The scenery and locations are picturesque. The story, while simple, is filled to the brim with characters with extreme depth, love, horror, or indifference. I don't wish to give anything away for those who have not yet seen it, but do yourself a favor and purchase this. It's an instant classic. Regardless of how you feel about the subject matter, you'll be in awe of a film that really is at the peak of the craft. This will be in a cornerstone for future filmmakers to come.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A gut-wrenching history lesson

    Posted
    mememe
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    This story is primarily about those 12 years a slave from the book Northup later wrote detailing the transition from free man to slave, the shocking living conditions and treatment of slaves in the south, and his own ordeal in the hands of three slave owners within a system of institutionalized captivity and abuse. His account provides a rare and incredible historic insight. The film is gritty, raw, real and details exactly how slavery "worked" in this country, including the many lines of defense to prevent escape, the extreme measures to deny freedoms, the ways slaves survived and did not, and the ill effects on the people committing or allowing such atrocities. This movie was a very interesting part of American History. The characterization of the actors was very emotional and heartfelt, with emphasis on how humans perceptions of self base on color of skin.

    I would recommend this to a friend

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    A must see film !

    Posted
    execumahr
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    "Mans' inhumanity to Man" - as good a film to highlight that premise as any I have ever seen. The story is utterly convincing as regards to being in the wrong place at the wrong time and it's consequences. The acting is stellar and completely mesmerizing transporting the viewer to another place and time in such a convincing manner that upon its conclusion the viewer has to check his or her surroundings just to be sure they are really in the 21st century. The director here has found a way to impart the film's lessons without bludgeoning you with it but rather enveloping you in it. A MUST SEE FILM for anyone's list and a MUST HAVE FILM for anyone's library.

    I would recommend this to a friend



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