Solomon Northup

759 Words4 Pages
Flogging scars and loss of identity; kidnapped, chained, and tortured, Chiwetel Ejiofor, playing the character of Solomon Northup, a man struggling to survive in the pre civil war South in the movie 12 Years a Slave. Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley efficiently accomplish the gut wrenching memoir of Solomon Northup by the astonishing work of sound, dialogue, and framework. Solomon Northup, renamed as “Platt”, was a free black man from Saratoga Springs, New York who is taken away from his family and bargained for slavery in the South. Solomon was completely stripped of his past and must sublimate himself from his musical talent and intelligence in order to survive. Sold to the cruelty of one particular owner, Edwin Epps played by…show more content…
McQueen and Ridley were really able to bring this movie to life by giving the viewers heartbreak from the sound of the whip thrashing through the skin to the disregarding screams that ring across the closed doors. Throughout the film, families are constantly being separated from each other permanently and the screams and intense background music really brings the agony to its truest form. Much of the film advocates with dialogue and characters playing the part and I find that this film was very well executed in doing that. Countless roles in the movie require speechless expression and the pain that both Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o who plays the role of Patsey are able to express so many emotions without words. These expressions during whipping scenes help the viewer to feel that same pain and cringe when the heightened background music begins to play and the character begins to wail. Moreover, McQueen also puts an artistic aspect of sound by playing soundtracks of insects during some transitions from scene to scene. I find that it symbolizes the cruelty and hardships of nature. Insects begin to teem and represent frenzy and is very irritating, but it symbolizes how insects are a part of life just like slavery was. In the cruelty of nature, I would compare this movie to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas because even though that movie has to do more about concentration…show more content…
In the beginning of the movie, Solomon says, “I will not fall into despair! I will keep myself hardy until freedom is opportune!” (12 Years a Slave). In the scene, when Solomon is about to be hung and the camera shows a close-up of his face, then to his feet and back and forth and then shows a long shot of the entire scene, it really shows how hard he fought not to fall into despair. The frame of his feet, fiddling to reach the ground and not fall and his face suffering to breathe and survive was frustrating and had lots of depth in the discomfort that he was feeling. Not to mention, there is a scene where Patsey gets a brutal beating by Epps on her back and you can see the blood jump off her skin. It is definitely a very graphic scene, but it crosscuts from Epps thrashing her, and back to Patsey. When you watch Epps hitting her, in the blurred background you are able to see the other slaves witness this tragedy and hear Patsey screaming and crying. This particular scene hits you straight in the gut and has you speechless.
12 Years a Slave is a memoir of Solomon Northup filmed with passion and conviction giving the viewer heartache and an addition to the many other perspectives that we already know of slavery, another lingering thought of how ghastly the method of slavery really was is added to our
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