Review: 12 Years A Slave
Benedict gives a convincing portrayal as a peaceful slaveholder in this drama about slavery.
12 Years A Slave focusses on the life story of Solomon Northup, a free black citizen who is sold into slavery 1841.
Director Steve McQueen (Hunger and Shame) tells the story in visually stunning scenes. Painting-like, beautiful landscape shots are in sharp contrast to the harsh, barbarous life of slaves and the extreme violence scenes of the film.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays William Ford, the first slaveholder of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Caught in the double-moral worldview of the Southern states at this time he preaches the Bible, but doesn’t implement it. He is definitely a more peaceful representative of the slaveholders as the following cruel and unpredictable Edwin Epps (brilliantly played by Michael Fassbender). Nevertheless, he remains a slaveholder, which secures his social status with these people who are at his mercy without any rights.
Benedict, who already played in several historical films and plays, appears in the southern state backdrop of the 19th century credible and convincing. However, he has a relatively short time on screen and his part part is not very concise apart from the last scene.