2013 ****1/2 134 mins.
Steve McQueen's outstanding direction makes 12 Years a Slave so much more than just another slave movie. It's a brilliantly paced film that delivers a much more realistic look at slavery than we are accustomed to seeing. The film feels like real life, like we are watching these events unfold as they actually happened. The film doesn't resort to cheap shocks, and it never feels preachy. Based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave tells the story of a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and of his valiant attempts to regain his freedom. My only real problem with the film is the unnecessary sexual situation near the beginning. It felt a bit out of place.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Rated R for violence/cruelty, some nudity and brief sexuality.
Screenplay by John Ridley
Based on the Memoirs by