I watched this movie after I’ve seen it won the best picture at the Oscars. The winning wasn’t surprising to me at all, it’s not new that the Academy favours this kind of genre. What’s better than a historical piece that highlights the good old value of humanity to win the best movie? You can’t be wrong to pick that one, so folks just went ahead picking that. Don’t misunderstand me there, I absolutely adore the story. The real life experience of Soloman Northup was heartbreaking. But unfortunately, the movie was not as engaging as I thought it would.
Perhaps it’s because of the ‘drama cell’ in my brain, I always seek for something bigger on screen. This is not a good thing I would say, so I’m not gonna blame it all on the movie. It’s just that the cell’s appetite grows every time you had something nice, and then you can never please it again unless you have something better. Throughout the movie, I’ve been bugged by the same feeling that sounds: “if only it could go a little further..”. I failed to feel wholeheartedly for the character, and that makes me feel awkwardly unsatisfying when I left the theater.
Another possible cause of the dissatisfaction is, I’ve studied about black slaves since years ago. I’ve read about the Civil War on history books, I realize how dark, unfair, and cruel that period was, and this makes the movie more predictable.
I appreciate how McQueen is trying to keep the authenticity of the real events, but his attempts aren’t perfectly convincing and yet, the movie sacrifices its novelty for that. (Also read Michael White’s review, I agree his points on the movie’s insufficiency in presenting the story context). Again, I think the reason why this movie won the best picture is that it has the package that fits the winning criteria, but as an audience, I find the lack of contextual details and dramatic elements in the movie makes it quite a boring piece.
I rate it 3/5.