Land of the Free?
12 Years a Slave
Review by Ross Anthony

It's an important movie. But, it's not a movie that I enjoyed. Of course, it's no fun watching a human be so grossly mistreated for 2 hours (think "Passion of Christ). Perhaps this will be the Amistad or Roots for the newer generations, but a lot of us are familiar with film versions of this material.

True to its title, the film spends very little time portraying Solomon as a free man. Within 5 minutes of film time, he's nabbed into slavery and only 5 minutes before the end he's returned to freedom. Given that this is a 2+ hour film, I would have been just as interested in knowing more about him apart from his mistreatment. What sort of fellow was he before being enslaved? What did he think of Southern slavery? How did that traumatic event change him? How did it change his view of slavery, his politics, etc. Yes, there are a few sentences of epilogue -- but I would have preferred an hour devoted to his family life in early 1800's America as free men and a second hour portraying his life after the slavery. I want to see how those 12 years changed him, and I want to see what kind of work he did as an abolitionist afterwards.

Of course, the film does have its moments. The cinematography is nice, the score is mostly good, but at times can be sorely heavy-handed (especially in the opening sequence). The acting is quite uneven -- some is stellar, some is below average. And lastly, I'm very curious about Brad Pitt's character. An abolitionist in Georgia speaking his mind? Really? Did that sort of thing happen? And he gets to keep his job? I'm surprised, that's all. And would like to know more about that.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • 12 Years a Slave. Copyright © 2013.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti. Directed By: Steve McQueen (III). Written By: John Ridley. Fox Searchlight.

Grade..........................B (2/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 14-Jul-2014 22:04:13 PDT