HOLLYWOOD – Steve McQueen’s new celebrated film 12 Years a Slave has come under a barrage of criticism from veteran film maker Spike Lee, who declared that at only 138 minutes of running time, the film is ‘over eleven years too short.’
‘You know how reluctant I am to engage in an argument with another film director,’ yelled an incensed Lee over the phone.
But Steve McQueen can only blame himself. He put his claim in the title of the film. I called my film The 25th Hour, not 25 Hours for precisely this reason. If a director is going to handle the sensitive topic of slavery and this blood stain on American history and he calls his film 12 Years a Slave, I want it to last 12 damned years.
Although the Do the Right Thing director admitted to not having yet seen the film, he said that it was likely not as good as it would’ve been had he made it. ‘For a start, I would’ve called it a “joint” and right there, the revolution begins,’ said Mr. Lee.
In the past Mr. Lee has criticized the Lee Daniels film The Butler (this was later seen to be a mistake and an apology issued) and Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (‘nowhere near’), but at this point his fellow film makers seem to have grown used to the grousing. Steve McQueen responded to the criticism by shaking his head sadly and muttering under his breath ‘Oh, Spike, Spike, deary me.’
12 Years a Slave is currently showing in selected theaters.