Howdy do, everyone, Papa Vinyard here.
Is it the thing to do now to highlight how far we've come in this country by padding the movies about heroic black figures in servitude with famous white faces? 'Cause God knows whitey is super sympathetic, but can't muster up the energy to see a movie about slaves/subservients with the cast of THINK LIKE A MAN. I don't know, for all I know this and THE BUTLER (or whatever the hell it ends up being called) could be great, but it sure seems like the trailers lean way more on recognizable white actors than on the African-Americans the movies claim to be about. But I digress…
Today we get a trailer for Steve McQueen's new movie, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, based on the life of Solomon Northrup, a free man who was captured and sold into slavery in the mid 1800's. It has an impressive cast, including Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael K. Williams, Scoot McNairy, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northrup, Despite the high-wattage roster, and my joy at seeing Mike Terry from REDBELT in another starring role, I'm not super-impressed with what I'm seeing. The tone seems a smidge over-the-top and cartoony, painting the slavers as stereotypically evil and the central slave as a Messianic-type figure. The imagery is nothing that we've never seen before, especially coming off of the super-potent work done by Tarantino and Robert Richardson in last year's DJANGO UNCHAINED.
I mean, I like SHAME, and I'm sure when I muster up the courage to sit through HUNGER, I'll enjoy that too. I wish McQueen nothing but the best with his biggest project yet (although it sucks that there's an actor named Steven R. McQueen; that shit is already confusing enough), but I really hope he brought more to the table than the willowing green fields of southern plantations and the hypocritical savagery of upper-class white slave-owners. From what we're seeing here, it's looking like a potentially showy role for Ejiofor, mixed with a possibly Razzie-level performance by Fassbender. Despite all that, I'll totally check this out based on the cast alone. We'll see what's actually shaking with this one in the coming months.
12 YEARS A SLAVE escapes on October 18th.