Potent, powerful, punishing – it is hard to imagine a film that could better capture the human misery of slavery in America. Everyone acts their appointed role in this tableau, although I didn’t quite understand what Brad Pitt was doing on the scene. Once the black man is considered chattel, rather than humanity, all else follows (as has been true for Indians in the West, “gooks” in Vietnam, Arabs in Iraq and Afghanistan – it always helps when the “other” is a different color). Maybe because it was based on a true story, nothing seemed trumped-up for Hollywood. The bad guys were bad largely due to the system they were products of; even “good guys” could do little to buck it. Money, as usual, was the driving force, with a dollop of lust thrown in. Chiwetel Ejiafor, a surefire Oscar nominee, told the whole story through his eyes, and it was a hard story to take. Leaving the film was a solemn moment.