Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Entertainment

May 2, 2014

'12 Years a Slave' deals with a great deal more than slavery

FROM THE DEN AT HOME — Occasionally a film comes along that’s almost TOO good, and, for me, “12 Years a Slave” is the latest in that category.

How can a film be too good? First, you need a suitably challenging, difficult or provocative subject. If the film in question can provide new insights into the subject by reflecting its realities from fresh perspectives, the resultant film might be “too good.” Other films I might place in this category include “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “The Pianist” (2002). There are certainly other films, dealing with other topics, but note that the first two that come to mind pertain to the Holocaust.

Based on my understanding of history, there are two American eras which might themselves be considered a “holocaust.” One of those involves the plight of American Indians during Andrew Jackson’s presidency, while the other involves the African American holocaust that was American slavery.

At first brush, “holocaust” might sound extreme in describing any era in American history, then along comes “12 Years,” reminding us exactly how brutal, callous, heartless and purely inhumane this era was for African Americans.

Working from a 160-year-old memoir of the same name adapted by novelist John Ridley (who won a ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ Oscar for his work), director Steve McQueen tells the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black-American born in New York in 1808.

Northup was a violinist, farmer and dedicated family man when he was lured to Washington D.C. in 1841 under false pretenses by two clandestine slave traders. At that time, slavery was legal in D.C., making it easy for the traders to drug Northup and sell him into slavery.

Northup wakes in chains and spends the next 12 years in bondage, bouncing around slave-era plantations in New Orleans. Some of his owners and overseers, like William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), were relatively benevolent, while others, like Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), were monsters in human skin.

Text Only
Entertainment
  • The Civil War comes to Knightstown this weekend The Annual Civil War Event at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, north of Knightstown on State Road 109, will begin Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. “The cavalry is coming this year, with more cannons, more reenactors, and special events,” states park owner Dan Moll.

    August 1, 2014

  • "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie poster Movie preview: “Guardians of the Galaxy”

    Plot: After stealing a mysterious orb in the far reaches of outer space, brash adventurer Peter Quill, a half human/half alien, is now the main target of a manhunt lead by the villain known as Ronan the Accuser.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Get On Up" movie poster Movie preview: “Get On Up”

    Plot: James Brown’s life is chronicled in this biopic from a childhood spent in poverty to his emergence as the Godfather of Soul.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb073114-state fair concerts jpg Indiana State Fair concerts at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage boasts major talent Concerts that are part of the 2014 Indiana State Fair begin next week as Lynyrd Skynyrd performs on Thursday, July 31 (pre-fair) followed by amazing shows at the Fairgrounds Coliseum and Free Stage throughout the run of the fair. Also, in celebration

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent-gb073114-Movie boys pic Movie Boys: Lucy This week Andy is back from the opening round of parenthood, and we take a look at the Scarlett Johansson action vehicle, “Lucy” (R). Johansson’s title character is forced to become a drug mule, when an accident causes her brain capacity to advance a

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 'This is the End' is long and not funny FROM THE DEN AT HOME — I was nothing short of stunned by how little I enjoyed “This is the End.”I rented this film expecting an irreverent, side-splitting hilarious romp, with laughs coming so quickly and frequently I’d be forced to watch a second ti

    July 31, 2014

  • ent-gb073114-New at library pic New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb072614-book review pic 1 Review: Supersurvivors by David B. Feldman, PhD & Lee Daniel Kravetz You’re not sure if you’ll ever recover.The loss of job or a business. The loss of a lifelong dream. The loss of your health or the life of someone you love. Without a doubt, you’ll never be the same. It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • New arrivals at library Translation to XTAGS failed

    July 25, 2014

  • "Hercules" movie poster Movie preview: “Hercules”

    Plot: Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo