Coffee’s review published on Letterboxd :
(rewatched as part of The 2010s Top 100 Project)
i love how McQueen isn’t preaching in this film that slavery was terrible and a travesty on human history because we already know that (DirkH expands upon this idea quite nicely here.) as an audience, McQueen often takes our knowledge of the travesties of slavery, to tell this story as simply, yet as beautifully nuanced as humanly possible. 12 Years A Slave is a film about the lasting hope and unbarred humanity that’s sustained despite the terrors of slavery. never holding back and always brutal, McQueen only shows the truth in this film. the truths of evil, the truths of the abuse, and the truth of the exploitation. the dehumanization really shows through the film without any overtly specific dialogue telling us about it. mcqueen’s show don’t tell mastery runs really nicely in this one. and of course none of this is to mention the stellar performances from Lupita and Chiwetel, the beautiful cinematography, and McQueens obvious knack for meticulously directing the hell out of everything. one of those films that makes you question where we are as a society and how far we’ve truly moved forward since those terribly dark days. i’m not sure what else to say without being too repetitive, but yeah. probably my favorite McQueen film, but we’ll see how that holds up after my Shame rewatch. nothing less than an acutely relevant, brutal, haunting landmark.