Synopsis: Chiwetel Ejiofor portrays a free man named Solomon Northrup, living in Saratoga New York during pre-Civil War America. One day, he encounters two strangers claiming that they work for a traveling circus and find his skill with a violin very valuable and seek to recruit his services, but their claims are thoroughly false. Instead, Solomon is kidnapped, taken south of the Mason-Dixon line and is sold into slavery where he spends over a decade in bondage serving two masters, one being a vindictive and cruel Southerner named Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, witnessing cruel and intolerable acts. Unable to verify his proof of freedom, due to his lack of papers and his word against the South, Solomon has no choice but to keep his head down, keep quiet and do as instructed.
Why is this movie #2?: Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” is a masterpiece blending an extraordinary screenplay from John Ridley, quality performances from Ejiofor, Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong’o’s Patsey, the tortured favorite of Epps and his wife, played by Sarah Paulson as well as an outstanding collection of actors including Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard. What stands out about “12 Years a Slave” is the direction of Steve McQueen, who accomplished a feat no other director has done this year: he blended the perfect combination of finesse and power to this film and could be the odds-on favorite for the Best Director Oscar. “12 Years a Slave” ranks as one of the most powerful motion pictures released this year.