The acting is unbelievable. Expect at least three acting nominations come Oscar morning. Four actually seems more likely.
|Ms. Nyong'o and Ms. Woodard|
The film also takes its time. It moves poetically in ways similar to McQueen's previous films (although this is less pronounced in 12 Years). More than once the camera lingers on Ejiofor's face for longer than it is comfortable for the audience, and once he looks directly at the audience. These shots are haunting and beautiful. After one of the men dies in the field, his family and friends stand beside the grave and the camera simply stares at Topsy Chapman and waits for her to do something. She eventually starts singing, and the pause before her song is almost as heartbreaking as the song itself.
This qualm is no small criticism, but it is, in truth, only a gripe. 12 Years a Slave is an excellent film by a filmmaker at the height of his abilities. It's poetic, it's powerful, and it's extraordinarily smart. This is must-see stuff.