I have written hundreds of book and movie reviews in the more than a decade of writing this blog, but never have I reviewed a movie and the book it was based on at the same time… I will change that here.
I finished reading the book 12 Years a Slave just a day after I watched the film 12 Years a Slave. First, I will review the book.
I was mesmerized by this book. Solomon Northrup’s tale of kidnap and sale into slavery was enlightening and shocking at the same time. As a storyteller, Northrup filled the book with great detail. As a psychological look at the life of a freeman-turned-slave it was emotionally wrenching. Shortly after I started reading it, I told my wife, “this is going to be a great movie. We’re talking Academy Award stuff if they pull it off.”
Movies are never as good as the book, but this one did an excellent job of sticking to the story. While there were some parts left out because of time constraints, most of the really important content was left alone. One or two of the characters weren’t cast as I pictured them (Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey and Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps) although I thought they worked really well. Fassbender in particular blew me away with his performance.
I was a bit under-impressed with Brad Pitt as Bass. He appeared to be Brad Pitt acting like Brad Pitt. I get that this character was not a very deep one and it’s the one he chose since he is the good guy and Pitt was the money behind the movie, but he could have actually done something with it. I think Paul Giamatti would have done a better job as Bass.
Overall, it is a good movie and I probably would have rated it better if I had not just finished the book. Read the book – watch the movie – do both. It’s all good.
RATING 8 out of 10