STEVE MCQUEEN 12 YEARS A SLAVE
I was taken to task for not having "12 Years A Slave" on my top-10 list. (I had it ranked No. 16 overall, just behind other near misses: "Her," "Blue Jasmine," "20 Feet From Stardom," "The Spectacular Now" and "Inside Llewyn Davis.") My rationale was this: Last year was a particularly strong one for feature films, and I just didn't connect with "12 Years A Slave" enough to place it above those other movies. Then I watched "12 Years A Slave" a second time.
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It is very difficult for me to view a film like 12 Years a Slave, as brilliant as it might be perceived, without being angered about the amount of violence perpetrated upon black flesh and black womanhood, without feeling that the self-worth of modern day African Americans is being diminished, without feeling that this kind of film enflames an omnipresent and smoldering mistrust of whites by blacks.
12 Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup, a talented violinist from Saratoga, N.Y., who is drugged, kidnapped and sold into slavery. Based on a true story, the film is an epic of endurance: two hours of Solomon snared in a setting as breathtaking for its beauty as it is for its callous violence.