Review Roundup - Critics Praise Steve McQueen's 12 YEARS A SLAVE
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Director Steve McQueen's drama 12 YEARS A SLAVE hits movie theaters today, Friday October 18th. The all-star cast includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Alfre Woodard.
12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed byMichael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life."
12 YEARS A SLAVE is a screenplay by John Ridley based upon Solomon Northrup's book of the same name.
Let's see what the critics have to say:
Joe Neumaier, NY Daily News: "Sometimes you have to prepare yourself for the journey a film takes you on. So it is with "12 Years a Slave," a harrowing, unforgettable drama that doesn't look away from the reality of slavery and, in so doing, helps us all fully, truly confront it."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times: "It's a desperate path and a story that seizes you almost immediately with a visceral force. But Mr. McQueen keeps everything moving so fluidly and efficiently that you're too busy worrying about Solomon, following him as he travels from auction house to plantation, to linger long in the emotions and ideas that the movie churns up."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "British director McQueen paints on a much bigger canvas and with a much broader brush here, befitting a subject that defined the structure of American society before the Civil War. The nature of the outrage, villainy and human suffering on display is entirely genuine if also familiar, but it is never far removed from the direct experiences of Northup, who, near the beginning of his ordeal, decides, "I don't want to survive, I want to live."
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post: "The opening scenes of "12 Years a Slave," Steve McQueen's searing adaptation of the true-life account of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South, tell you all you need to know about the cinematic experience you're about to have."
Matt Pais, RedeyeChicago.com: "12 Years a Slave" is a raw, powerful film that matters, but watching it doesn't feel like work. If this movie ever appears on a syllabus, students will look forward to class."