Average User Score: 9.0Mar 6, 2014Inspired by the Five Families of New York City, The Godfather tells the story of how the Corleones are pushed against the wall by their rivalsInspired by the Five Families of New York City, The Godfather tells the story of how the Corleones are pushed against the wall by their rivals and other upcoming gangsters who want to make money by sources Don Vito deems beneath him, and their retaliation and its consequences. Alliances are formed in secret, murders are plotted, enemies are butchered or blown to pieces without remorse.
Don Vito (Marlon Brando) and his sons Sonny (James Caan) and Michael (Al Pacino) are the main characters. The actors bringing them to life have succeeded in their jobs so supremely that these characters have become the stuff of legend. Don Vito's backstory from the novel was pushed into The Godfather Part II, and that was a practical decision as the movie was already three hours long. Sonny and Michael display their acumen for running criminal activities when the reins are handed to them in their turn. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) is the consigliere, or the most trusted adviser, of the Don.
We are transported from 1940s NYC ripe with Mafia bosses one-upping each other, to Sicily and Las Vegas. The characters are never shown to traverse great expanses of land or sea in search of destiny or whatever. Neither are they shown to be engaging in life-or-death situations where they have to come out on top using their wits or physical strength or endurance. But the change of settings does meet the requirements of the epic genre. Even though we don't get to see large scale gunfights or something like that, the fact that the Corleones are in all these places helps to form that opinion. The story is essentially about a single family, and you get the impression that the message here is that family is important, and that the lengths you're willing to go to to protect them knows no bounds.
The Corleones' peace is fazed when a gangster offers them a deal in drugs. Don Vito expresses his disgust and refuses. This triggers an unexpected ploy for gaining power and upper hand and turns the conflict into a fully fledged gang war. Some characters are displaced, forced to take up arms, or caught in the crossfire. Another calamity strikes when things seem to have cooled down. Finally, the Corleones deal with their enemies effectively and ruthlessly. The victory is theirs, but if it is worth it is for the audience to decide.
The Godfather's success lies in its rich story and characters. Often times, great stories come about by accident. The setting complements the plot and the characters, and becoming a character itself, creates a blend that is greater than the sum of its parts. These characters and plot could quite easily have worked in a medieval setting of dynasties warring for control over a kingdom, or any other setting for that matter, but the fact that the setting was New York City and the control over the city meant control over the most lucrative criminal activities, which is a decadent scheme, and immediately paints even the good guys in a bad light, was what in my opinion made The Godfather much more intriguing and enduring.
There are many enemies to deal with. The film doesn't develop them at all. The Corleones are the only ones who are explored and developed as characters. At first it seems like it is a story of a group of people who have virtually everything they could ever want and the film would only chronicle their exploits as they vanquish this enemy and that. This changes as we move forward and witness the bloodshed.
No good movie can come into being without good plotting, believable characterization, classy cinematography and memorable dialogue, and here it is all brought together nigh perfectly. The production design was impressive. The houses and their interiors, and the cars and costumes were fascinating and left me with a desire to be able to witness that world firsthand. The secondary characters may not have seemed to be given much screen time to develop them but the cast is so huge that if they had done it the movie would have been at least an hour longer. The score is so simple and true to the story that you don't need me to tell you that it may be the most memorable score ever.
A lot of time is spent in contemplation and silence, as the characters decide what the best course of action should be in response to a particular problem. The dialogue fleshes out the characters very well. The Godfather is essentially a film that looks into the lives of the gangsters at the top of the hierarchy. We only see the comings and goings, and not the handiwork, of the men who carry out the orders of their bosses. No shootouts during the gang war are shown. The intrigue that directly affects the main characters is in itself so destructive and deadly that not once the exclusion of the ordinary mobsters bother me in any way.
The Godfather cannot be dismissed as being merely about a mob family and a bunch of criminals. Given his later career, I think it's safe to venture that Coppola was born to make this movie.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Mar 5, 2014After watching all those comic heroes on the big screen, I always wondered how ordinary people, not the ones from the main cast, managed toAfter watching all those comic heroes on the big screen, I always wondered how ordinary people, not the ones from the main cast, managed to survive in their entirety. With buildings exploding and guns blaring, no one seemed to get hurt, let alone lose their lives. Of course I'm referring to The Avengers, Transformers, Spiderman and the many others (Nolan's Batman does not count for it is in a league of its own). In this regard at least, Man of Steel has been original in that not only a lot of deaths were hinted at, some of them were shown right on screen without any qualms. Call that creative if you will, or whatever, for better or for worse the invincible man himself could not keep every single human being on the planet safe from death.
Henry Cavill is cast as Superman. He is charismatic, charming and good-looking, and perhaps the best cast for the role. Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, the much older love interest. Diane Lane is cast as Kent's mother on Earth. Russell Crowe portrays Superman's biological father, and is seen throughout the movie at key moments. Michael Shannon is General Zod, the villain who equals Superman in strength and skill, essentially rendering the former's physical superiority redundant, for he has followers too which brings the odds of numbers into play the same way any human encounters and confrontations would have.
Nolan's involvement is palpable. A sense of realism was attempted to be incorporated. For example, the name Superman is not uttered until three quarters into the second hour. The buildings collapse as the larger than life opponents battle it out. Cars are crushed and fires break out. It's safe to say that people die in great numbers.
The first hour is mainly about Superman's origins. We get to see Krypton, the alien home-world, for the first time. Unlike the other instalments in the franchise, Kent is nearing middle age before he decides (or is forced by circumstances) to take an active part in saving people openly. Before that, he roams around incognito and changes jobs and identities if he is forced by his good nature to save someone's skin. Some of his childhood on Earth is also explored.
It is around the one and a half hour mark when the larger chunk of the budget for the movie begins to show, and it depletes quickly as the action sequences follow one another in succession until the very end.
The film was an interesting take on the superhero concept. A degree of realism was certainly there. The lead was a good choice. And the whole idea of beings of superhuman strength getting it on with each other in the middle of civilization and spreading carnage indiscriminately was something that would have been virtually impossible to depict on screen before the advent of visual effects. But still something was missing. An ingredient which would have perhaps brought it to a final, perfect conclusion. I can't fault it for it for I could not say what they could have done differently. But I had a good time, if not stellar, so I will rate it accordingly.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.8Mar 5, 2014Scorsese keeps coming back to the same theme and subject matter_ debauchery and its pitfalls. And he has found himself actors who are able toScorsese keeps coming back to the same theme and subject matter_ debauchery and its pitfalls. And he has found himself actors who are able to convey his message effectively. Casino deals with this subject in the business of gambling.
Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is doing good running a casino for the Mafia in 1970s Las Vegas. Things get tricky as first Ginger (Sharon Stone) and then Nicky (Joe Pesci) come into his life. They're both unstable and careless, and have no vision for their futures like Sam has. Their antics get him into trouble time and again.
Like Scorsese's other movies, the plot takes a backstage to the characters and their personal quirky moments. He instead relies on multiple voice-overs to propel the plot forward. The plot does thicken with time, and not for good. It felt like he wasn't sure if he should concentrate on the characters or the plot development. Goodfellas found that balance ingeniously, so did his later movie The Wolf of Wall Street, both of which deal with the same themes.
The acting was sufficient, I suppose. De Niro does a decent enough job. Pesci's character is too similar to the one he played in Goodfellas. In essence, he is a character actor. Sharon Stone also did a good job.
I couldn't feel excited during a single scene in the entire movie. There was no sense of danger and urgency, despite the breakneck pacing. The film was just a scene after scene of greed, violence and narration. It got old after a while.
The production design, which brought the 1970s to life, did a wonderful job. The same camera angles were used as were in Goodfellas. The camera zooms in on people's faces the same way.
I found the movie a bit underwhelming. I felt like Scorsese wasn't done with the subject that he started out to tell in Goodfellas, and hence returned to it. He should have just made a single movie about it, or he should have made this one so different from the first that no one could have found any similarities.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Mar 4, 2014American Hustle has a slow, dragging style, which explains why I gave up the first time I watched it before it reached the half hour mark. ItAmerican Hustle has a slow, dragging style, which explains why I gave up the first time I watched it before it reached the half hour mark. It felt like the film was trying too hard to create a story, and all the characters felt archetype. But the movie does pick up and become somewhat interesting after that. Though the character motivations are never explored, we get to see the different sides of them which make them all human.
The plot is simple yet complex, but what it never is intriguing enough. Some con-men are coerced by the FBI into setting up members of the Congress and the Mafia. They must find a way to do the job without being targeted by them afterwards and yet not get incarcerated.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is an ageing swindler who has a nice steady income through his various clandestine operations. Things get messy for him when he comes across Edith Greensly (Amy Adams), for he has a wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who can create a lot of trouble for him if she isn't kept happy. Richard (Bradley Cooper) is the agent who deals directly with him. He is clever and ambitious and selfish, but mostly is a liability who more often than not gets in their way and creates complications as they try to complete their job assigned to them by the agency. Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) is the mayor who is fooled into joining the team in helping the FBI bring down the politicians and the mobsters.
I felt like the nominations in the categories of acting were undeserved. On the contrary I'm of the opinion that Renner should have been recognized instead of the underwhelming performance given by Cooper. Sure Bale did a good enough job, and he felt like he worked for the role, with his hair and body fat. Adams, in addition to showing a lot of skin, showed another side of her which I believe I had not seen before. She certainly felt like a better actress.
The art department did a commendable job. The hairstyles, costumes, cars, and room interiors were convincing enough. What was lacking was a plot which would have matched the effort put into bringing the 70s era onto the screen. I was amused by some of the characterization, yet was waiting for over the top humour or insight into the business or a plot twist or something. Sadly there was little if not nothing that blew my mind. Other movies have done the job required of a period piece equally well and fallen to pieces without the support of a strong story but this film was spared that fate because of the names of the cast and director. Rush would have been a better consideration for the category of Best Picture. At least it succeeded in entertaining the hell out of me as well as showing the 1970s.
It wasn't especially a bad movie, just not something I would have liked nominated for the top prize. It was way over-hyped, and left a bad taste in my mouth when within ten minutes of starting copied Goodfellas in dual voice-over.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Feb 27, 2014Dallas Buyers Club chronicles the struggles of a man suffering from AIDS as he is shunned by friends and finds solace in the most unexpectedDallas Buyers Club chronicles the struggles of a man suffering from AIDS as he is shunned by friends and finds solace in the most unexpected of places. As he struggles to stay alive, he is forced to use medication that brings him into conflict with the authorities.
We follow Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) as his previously cavalier lifestyle is brought to a standstill with the knowledge of his disease. His confession of his illness to a friend has an unexpected effect when he is perceived as a homosexual, even though he clearly loathes them. He straightens up and does some research, and when he discusses this with Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner), he finds that as long as a treatment is not approved by the FDA, there's no chance he can opt for it, despite its use in other parts of the world. AIDS brings him into contact with Rayon (Jared Leto). His hatred of gays resurfaces. But they are another misunderstood group of people who indulge in their feelings without bringing harm to anyone. Ron is evicted by his landlord and his walls are vandalized. Finally he gives up everything and heads after a rumour in Mexico. On his return he starts the Dallas Buyers Club, and attempts to spread medication not approved by the authorities.
Somewhere along the way, he changes and looks at life differently. This development is surprising when it happens, and I applauded when he rose to the occasion instead of going down the easy path. Ron becomes a big businessman, travelling between different countries in order to circumvent law in bringing life saving drugs into his own country. His interactions with Dr. Eve (Jennifer Garner) are a source of great insight into the disease and much amusement on the side. We also get to see some of the hidden life and past of Rayon. Ron finally takes FDA to court to avail his right to his own treatment.
Matthew McConaughey has perhaps delivered the most shining performance of his career. Other than weight loss, which is what most actors go for when a role requires it, apart from weight gain, he created a character who was at once a southern hippy and low life yet had a peculiarly uplifting view of life.
Jared Leto plays a cross dressing gay man who finds friendship in the reluctant Ron. Together they spend what time they have trying to keep other people suffering from AIDS alive.
The script succeeded in imparting useful information about the disease and its possible cures and the development of medicine designed to keep the harmful effects of the virus at bay. But it did not achieve this at the expense of entertainment. The film was comical all the way.
We also get to witness the dirty side of society_ the misconceptions people have about the disease and its patients, and their unforgivable behaviour when they unload their insecurities onto the hapless victims. Also portrayed is the behaviour of straight men towards homosexuals.
The production design did a remarkable job given that the budget was negligible compared to other great movies nominated for the category of Best Picture. The environment of the 1980s and 1990s Texas, including the cars and dresses, was convincing. The film succeeded in letting us glimpse into the daily life of that era as well as telling a good story with intriguing characters.
Dallas Buyers Club is a must watch film because I don't really know any other that has dealt with the subject with this much depth.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Feb 15, 2014Her is about a lonely man, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who has gone through a breakup and is a bit afraid of commitment. He buys an OSHer is about a lonely man, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), who has gone through a breakup and is a bit afraid of commitment. He buys an OS which is far more advanced and intelligent than humans have the capacity to be. The film develops their relationship, with all its quirks and weird parts. It was a funny, thought-provoking and sometimes creepy social commentary. Director Spike Jonze seems to have as much interest in deep discussions about the human condition as he has in mindless, juvenile, cringe-inducing pseudo-documentaries like Jackass.
The film opens with Theodore going about being lonely with a handful of friends, one of whom is played by Amy Adams. He works as a letter writer who writes letters for couples and families who are either not literary enough to do that on their own or do not have the time for it. The time depicted is somewhere in the future and frankly I think some version of this is going to come true at some point, given that people have more time for texting than they have for people who are around them. The lack of interest in having meaningful conversations with people who might have the same passions as you might have seems to be increasing.
Theodore is a nerdy fellow but is very interesting nonetheless. Phoenix plays him with a subtle, clever approach. I found his characterization very authentic. He was a guy I believe I could come across in real life and not be surprised that he existed. Amy Adams also steps up as an actor, and certainly showed a side of her I did not believe existed. She has grown so much and I hope we get to see more of her this deep conflicted side. But the ultimate praise should be reserved for Scarlett Johansson. She was so successful in capturing my imagination that I was left thoroughly intrigued with a longing for Samantha to be real.
The interactions between Theodore and Samantha are for the most part humorous. Theodore is at first astonished at the abilities of the OS, and assumes a mocking tone. But it is clear they have chemistry together from the outset. They hit it off instantly. But when the former starts to be drawn back into his former life we see for the first time how this fantasy was hard to keep up, and he responds accordingly. He is confused and conflicted and has no idea about what he should do. The film did not try to be forcefully funny and clever but found occasions inside the story to be so. The fusion between comedy and romance was met with a craftsman's precision.
Samantha is perceptive of the emotions that run around her and sensitive of her lack of a body and the drawbacks of not being able to provide a feeling of human contact, but she tries her best using her voice. However, she is constantly evolving and it is only a matter of time before she becomes so curious about everything that it would be hard to hold on to her.
There's a scene where Theodore fears for Samantha like one does for the personal safety of a human being. That I believe was the defining scene of the film as it summed up all the feelings and emotions that had preceded. Their relationship do have some positive outcomes. Given Samantha's extraordinary view of life, she takes certain steps that benefit Theodore in the long run.
The futuristic time shown was fascinating. Apart from the little quirky things like having relative strangers write letters for your loved ones, the technology is advanced. There is this 3-D video game where you feel a part of the world of the game. There are also those type of games which are aimed at mimicking real life and making the players feel like they have achieved something, and arguably contribute towards delusions.
The score was slow-moving, subtle and emotional. It was used to evoke the emotions that were needed to be evoked during a scene very effectively and without forcing us to. But the underlying theme was always sad and moving, and not bombastic. Thank God for that, for this film was equal parts about depicting some kind of a future which our present might be leading to, as well as being about Theodore's personal life and difficulties with trying to make sense of his life. Her is also a very visual film, lingering on buildings and the environment in the more reflective scenes.
Despite everything, I felt like the ending was a bit underwhelming. The movie kind of fizzled out. The final revelation should have been followed up with some commentary or a conclusory scene, but all in all I was left with a feeling that I was better off having watched it.
Average User Score: 8.8Feb 10, 2014Chinatown is one of the most impressive examples of neo-noir I have ever seen. It has got a cocky detective investigating a complex mystery,Chinatown is one of the most impressive examples of neo-noir I have ever seen. It has got a cocky detective investigating a complex mystery, lots of smoking and drinking, music that lulls the mind, and a hot woman or two.
When Jake is approached by a woman who wants to find out if her husband has been cheating on her, he discourages her as not everything that could be found is worth finding out about. Sure enough, he finds that there is another girl and the story leaks to the papers. But then another woman, who is the real Mrs. Mulwray, shows up and threatens to sue him.
Mr. Mulwray is frequently spotted around places looking at soil. Mrs. Mulwray lies with her every word. What is she hiding? Jake goes from one person to another in search of the truth. He knows there is something everyone is keeping from him. That is the whole mystery and what he must find out. No one is who they seem to be. People die and he is chased and escapes death several times.
Mr. Mulwray is against the building of a dam, arguing that the last one that he helped build resulted in an accident that killed hundreds. The city is against him as they can't seem to understand his reasoning_ LA is going dry and something must be done.
There are swindlers at every turn and when Jake comes upon them he is overwhelmed. Mrs. Mulwray is her only ally, and whether he likes it or not, or even trusts her, there's no one else who is going to believe the fantastic story he is going to tell them for the truth.
The time and the life depicted_ 1930s was caught authentically with the set design, costumes, cars, rooms etc. Polanski lingers on the environment and lets us become a part of it and feel it completely. Chinatown is as much about the experience of that time as it is about the water dispute and the deaths surrounding it. The sense of despair, so essential to the genre, is exemplified in the ending. From the plot and the intrigue to the mind-boggling mystery to the set design to the character development, Chinatown is one of the most perfect films ever made.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Feb 10, 2014The second instalment has more drama, conflict, engaging characters, and a vicious arena. A way is found to return the champions to theThe second instalment has more drama, conflict, engaging characters, and a vicious arena. A way is found to return the champions to the battlefield. But nothing is really what it seems to be. There are layers under which the different characters are working.
Catching Fire takes the conflict steadily away from being everything about who survives in the arena to the larger issue, which is the tyranny of the Capitol. Katniss, for the sake of the audience, doesn't know much about what is being plotted in secret, mainly because she isn't the most discrete and patient of people.
Gale Hawthorne is developed further before the focus once again returns to Katniss and Peeta. Both of them must form alliances if they hope to have one of them survive. Finnick and Johanna breathe some life into an otherwise stagnant narrative. They are both cocky and witty and peculiar, and talented in the art of killing. Beetee is skilled with the use of electricity. Haymitch is much more cunning and resolved this time around. He seems to have a purpose he is keeping from both Katniss and Peeta.
President Snow wants Katniss to make the people of the districts believe that it was true love that made her want to eat the berries alongwith Peeta at the end of their previous expedition into the arena. People are taking her deathwish for a display of defiance. For her part she wants to cooperate so they would leave her and her family in peace. She just wants to live the rest of her life recovering from the mental damage she has suffered from killing all those people. But it isn't working and Snow finds another way for quelling the hopes of the inhabitants of the districts.
Hoffman plays the new gamemaker hired by Snow. He is tasked with arranging Katniss's death so the whole issue about the mockingjay would go away. He lives up to his name in his last performance of his life. Sadly we won't be able to see his character in the next two instalments.
The stakes are higher than the lives of both the characters. It is freedom that is the goal here and the movie ends in a way which would leave the viewers in no doubt about where the story is headed. The promise is large and I hope that they deliver. I know the last book was a bit underwhelming, so some modifications would have to be made to keep the following two sequels interesting. The theme discussed is the same as before_ human suffering though poverty, hunger, war and persecution.
They did everything they could have with this instalment. The budget was bigger. The set design, visual effects, costumes and weapons more impressive. But the reason the movie succeeds is they also went bigger with the characters. They felt more lively and real. If this instalment is any indication, the next two films are going to earn huge sums of money too. Catching Fire has turned the franchise very lucrative.
Average User Score: 9.1Feb 5, 2014A teenager, Marty, finds himself in an accidental time travel into the past where he meets his parents who are young again. He has to create aA teenager, Marty, finds himself in an accidental time travel into the past where he meets his parents who are young again. He has to create a romance between them so he could be born in the future. Dr. Brown, who invented the time machine in the future, is also his ally in the past, and together they must find a way to send him back to the future.
The story takes place in the same town. The world is a different place in the 1950s from the 80s. The dressing, speech, tastes in music, all of it. Marty, as he says himself, has a life in the future he wants to return to. The plot was intricate and the dialogue sharp and witty. The eccentric Doctor can't go a second without putting a smile on your face.
Marty's arrival in the past confuses a family living on a farm who take him for an alien. He flees from there and marches into the town still in his clothes from the future. At several instances, it is suggested that some of the popular culture was defined by Marty, such as skateboards and rock n roll.
Marty's father, George, is bullied by the same man, Biff, who is also bullying him in the future. Marty starts working on helping his father stand up for himself. He regularly comes into conflict with Biff.
George is afraid of any kind of social contact and Marty has his work cut out for him to convince him to ask his mother out so they could kiss and start a relationship. Much of the humour lies in Marty's struggles to spark fire between his parents which was messed up by his intervention.
His mother, who should have fallen in love with his father, instead becomes infatuated with him. His horror at this development is funny because you know this is a comedy film and everything will work out in the end.
'Back to the Future' is possibly one of the most entertaining movies about time travel, probably because it didn't delve into hard science and combined elements of both science fiction and comedy.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Feb 4, 2014'12 Years a Slave' amazes with its attention to detail and authenticity regarding the lives led by slaves. It was well researched and'12 Years a Slave' amazes with its attention to detail and authenticity regarding the lives led by slaves. It was well researched and refrained from creating drama to add spice.
From the very first scene, McQueen wastes no time in plunging us into the daily, ordinary lives of black slaves of the nineteenth century Deep South. Interlaced with the present story that we're being shown where the protagonist, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), is already a slave, a series of flashbacks flesh out his previous life as a free man in the North. He has a wife and kids, and leads a normal life just like the white people who surround him. He is introduced to people who promise him good income as a violinist in the capital. He agrees and leaves his family behind in New York for an intended period of two weeks. He is lulled into a false sense of security and drinks more than he should have. When he wakes up he finds himself in chains confronted by men who insist on calling him a slave.
I got the impression that those of the African extraction who were born free are inherently different from those who were born into slavery. They think and speak freely and have a different view to life. Those who were born into slavery seem to have embraced their fate. There was an interesting scene where a slave walks into a shop and stares in amazement at Northup when he was a free man in New York.
Paul Giamatti plays a slave-trader who has them stand naked as potential customers roam about and inspect them before making a purchase. He divides children from their mothers without a second thought. It is here that Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch) buys Northup. McQueen doesn't take it easy on the children we have seen just because we might have developed sympathy for them, for to do so would be a gross betrayal to the ones whose stories no one narrated and their anguish never revealed, and to keep them safe would suggest that this was the norm where in reality it might have been an exception.
John Tibeats (Paul Dano) comes across as someone who never might have thought about the ethics of slavery once in his life. He is instantly recognizable. There are a lot of people like him who go about their lives without letting their thoughts stray into areas that demand serious discussions like philosophy, the arts, poverty, war etc. They came into this world to lead their lives like sheep, eating well, wearing and spending extravagantly, and having a general good time. If they were picked up and dropped into a time when slavery was legal, they would not once flinch or utter a word against it as long as they belonged to the group that was doing the slaving. Tibeats resents the fact that Ford has grown fond of Northup, and the latter's quick wit and high words offend him.
Northup's next owner, Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), puts him to picking cotton in the fields with his other slaves. He derives his own interpretations from the Bible sanctioning slavery, and lashes them accordingly. Sometimes he has them brought into the house in the middle of the night and dance around. Epps's wife is jealous of a slave girl and abuses her constantly. She can't seem to grasp the fact that if her husband paid special attention to a slave, it was his fault and not the latter's. She constantly threatens the slaves and taunts her husband to be more tough on them to keep them in line. When she offers them respite, she expects gratitude. Husband and wife bring the worst out of each other. But Epps is the epitome of psychopathy. He bullies with his every word. It is a constant struggle for Northup not to incite anger and have his master lunge at him with murderous intention.
Deaths among the slaves happen without any alarm being raised. Some of the black people have had it easy on them courtesy of their owners. They even had servants and slaves serving them in a few cases. Northup becomes a part of the community, but he still tries to reach his family and friends somehow to inform them about his situation. He trusts in someone who betrays him, and barely escapes death. Northup is finally able to reunite with his family, but not before we witness possibly some of the worst scenes of barbarity displayed anywhere on film.
At moments the score is so quiet it's almost imperceptible, but complements the scenes perfectly. The production design and costume design paints a vivid picture of the time. There's a simplicity and mundaneness to everything from the way the slaves toil everyday to their time spent privately. The film was edited with ingenuity. Both narratives develop side by side and complement each other. Instead of a beginning where we might have wondered when Northup was going to be banged up, we see him as a slave from the very first shot. And the flashbacks only come when they are relevant to the present story. Northup's character development was palpable and poignant.
McQueen has promoted himself to the A-list with this masterpiece of the highest order.… Expand