Fox Searchlight has released a new TV spot for director Steve McQueen’s (Shame) incredible drama 12 Years a Slave. The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841. Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade. I caught the film at TIFF and it is not only one of the best films I’ve seen all year, but also one of the most emotional moviegoing experiences I’ve had period. This TV spot is heavy on intensity, but it’s not really indicative of the film’s pace. McQueen offers an unflinching, terrifying look at slavery in a straightforward manner that captures the reality of the situation without smoothing out the edges or glamorizing the story with flashy editing.
Hit the jump to watch the TV spot, click here for Matt’s review, and click here for my rundown of its awards chances. The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’O, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhane Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt. 12 Years a Slave opens in limited release on October 18th before expanding in the following weeks.
Here’s the official synopsis for 12 Years a Slave:
12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.