12 Years a Slave Reviews

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Scott Marks
San Diego Reader
January 13, 2015
In its own saintly manner, it's as exploitative as anything critics accused Django Unchained of being, minus Tarantino's eye for idiosyncrasy and sense of humor.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Vincent Mancini
FilmDrunk
October 18, 2013
There's a difference between an "unflinching" look at something and an unflinching look at a person desperately trying to project "unflinching." 12 Years is often upsetting for all the wrong reasons. It relegates atrocities to the level of camera tricks.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Kirk Honeycutt
honeycuttshollywood.com
October 17, 2013
Other than a few exceptional moments, McQueen's movie doesn't say much about the human spirit.
Full Review | Original Score: 5
Bruce Bennett
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
January 31, 2014
Generally more concerned with making its audience wince than with forging an indelible imprint on the soul.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
October 14, 2013
[VIDEO ESSAY] If Steve McQueen would fully commit to his calling as an exploitation director, he might eventually achieve his desired effects through that more direct approach.
Full Review | Original Score: D-
Jake Wilson
Sydney Morning Herald
January 13, 2015
A film that, despite its surface simplicity, proves to be riven with contradictions to the point of incoherence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
October 21, 2013
Apart from caricatures-as-characters reasons, the cinematography in '12 Years a Slave' is over-prettified and distracting.
Ed Gonzalez
Slant Magazine
September 14, 2013
Steve McQueen's impersonal approach to his subject matter isn't solely to blame for the failure of 12 Years a Slave, a safely anecdotal mosaic closer in spirit to Edward P. Jones's The Known World than to Toni Morrison's radically constructed Beloved.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Gerald Peary
Arts Fuse
November 17, 2013
A decent film, but hardly the breakthrough anti-slavery masterpiece many have claimed. It's difficult to stay in the brutal reality with A-list movie stars around every bend.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5 stars
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
October 16, 2013
Aside from a characteristically nuanced lead performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor... it's a picture that stays more than a few safe steps away from anything so dangerous as raw feeling.
Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews
December 22, 2013
Two hours of torture and degradation were done much better in "Saw" or "Hostel". This is not a Major Statement about slavery but one about a visual artist's preoccupation with pain--just like his misbegotten "Hunger".
Dan Casey
Nerdist
January 13, 2015
Plain and simple, 12 Years A Slave is a modern day masterpiece.
Mark Hughes
Forbes
August 4, 2014
Driven by the best performances of the year, bold directing, and a compelling true story that reminds us of our nation's shameful, inhumane past, it is a film destined to enjoy a reputation as one of the greatest films ever produced about slavery.
Shawn Hazelett
Under the Radar
August 18, 2014
Screenwriter John Ridley takes a story that's episodic in nature and crafts a narrative that manages to build in intensity and emotion for over two hours.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Clayton Davis
AwardsCircuit.com
July 4, 2014
Lupita Nyong'o is the emotional epicenter of the entire film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Brad Keefe
Columbus Alive
January 13, 2015
Given the subject matter of the film, it's unsurprising to say that 12 Years a Slave is moving, but it's a testament to the filmmaking just how devastating the experience of watching it actually is.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Deborah Ross
The Spectator
January 13, 2015
You will recoil. You will flinch. You will say to yourself, 'Oh no, not again.' But the story will seize you with such a visceral power you will be rooted to the spot. I know I was and I'm not easy to root.
Alex Doenau
Trespass
January 13, 2015
Some movies have to be made, have to be seen, and no other consideration needs to be entered into.
Paul Whitington
Irish Independent
February 6, 2014
Using dialogue sparsely and shocking images relentlessly, McQueen's movie brilliantly explores the implications and legacy of slavery, and debunks some of its more cherished myths.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Anna Tatarska
Movie Mezzanine
March 13, 2014
There are no false pretenses or unnecessary charging, instead, there is patience and time. The moments of suspension often become the biggest delight.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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