Online Film Critics Society

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Reviews: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12_years_a_slaveReviews for this film from our members:

  • Marco Albanese @ Stanze di Cinema [Italian]
    • Excerpt: 12 years a slave è già un classico, sin dalla sua uscita in sala: ne ha il passo potente e fermo, le buone intenzioni ed il finale edificante, che tuttavia non risolve e non consente nessuna catarsi. L’oscurità e l’orrore non si cancellano e restano addosso a lungo.
  • Mario Alegre @ Primera Hora
  • [New – 5/22/14] | Dragan Antulov @ Draxblog VI [Croatian]
  • Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan
    • Excerpt: 12 Years a Slave is a hard film to see in many ways. However, it is a film that is as close to what the actual experiences of a slave would have been that we are likely to see.
  • José Arce @ LaButaca.net [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: El imprescindible Steve McQueen sublima su evolución formal y pasa a la liga de los grandes aforos con la que junto a “Gravity” y “Dallas Buyers Club” es, de momento, la más sobresaliente propuesta de lo que llevamos de 2013. Un peliculón impepinable.
  • Edwin Arnaudin @ Ashvegas
    • Excerpt: In realizing this journey, McQueen and his collaborators take the personal humanity of “Fruitvale Station” and magnify it twenty-fold, resulting in not merely the year’s best-made film, but the most powerful and enriching one as well.
  • Enrique Buchichio @ Cartelera.com.uy [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Esta película es para la esclavitud algo así como el equivalente cinematográfico de lo que La Pasión de Cristo fue para la crucifixión de Jesús: una reconstrucción terriblemente “realista” y dolorosa que le hace ver al espectador lo que aquello significó, sin suavizarlo.
  • Daniel Carlson @ Pajiba
  • Samuel Castro @ Ochoymedio.info [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: Una narración tensa y elocuente sobre uno de los fenómenos históricos más crueles, hecho con sensibilidad y emoción
  • Bill Clark @ FromTheBalcony
  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: this film falters enough that it needs to be acknowledged, its passage of time muddled…some lesser acting skills distancing, Hans Zimmer’s score only occasionally rising above cliched Celtic themes and mournful fanfare.
  • Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder
    • Excerpt: What makes 12 YEARS A SLAVE so incisive isn’t that it is a particularly apt depiction of slavery. It’s that director Steve McQueen makes the viewer feel like it is.
  • Carlos del Río @ El rincón de Carlos del Río [Spanish]
    • Excerpt: El principal problema que le veo es que McQueen se limita a mostrar, y deja de lado construir una narración que te involucre o desarrollar unos personajes mínimamente.
  • Billy Donnelly @ This Is Infamous
  • Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies
    • Excerpt: [P]erhaps the most important achievement of this staggering film is how acutely and precisely he depicts the psychological cruelty of one of the most evil sins humanity has ever inflicted upon itself.
  • Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk
  • Dustin Freeley @ MoviesAboutGladiators.com
    • Excerpt: 12 Years a Slave takes an unflinching look at the horrific culture of ownership.
  • Kenji Fujishima @ In Review Online
  • Susan Granger @ www.susangranger.com
    • Excerpt: Savage, uncompromising and gruesomely cringe-inducing, this true tale will shock you and anger you, but it may also touch you very deeply.
  • Steven Greydanus @ National Catholic Register
    • Excerpt: Made me angry, and grateful, in ways I didn’t always anticipate.
  • Vadym Grygoriev @ kinoblog.com [Ukrainian]
  • Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance is the essence of the picture. With his expressive eyes and quiet demeanor, he single-handedly commands our attention even amongst more flashy characterizations from his fellow actors.
  • Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics
    • Excerpt: 12 Years A Slave is more than just one of the best movies of the year, it stands alongside Roots as a significant cinematic contribution to this country’s never ending discussion about slavery.
  • Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film
  • Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
    • Excerpt: Even if it’s for the most demanding and tough-skinned viewer, “12 Years a Slave” is unshakably harrowing, worth the effort, and too indispensable to ignore.
  • Oktay Ege Kozak @ Oregon Herald
    • Excerpt: This is the third time I’m attempting to write a review for 12 Years a Slave. Usually it takes me two to four hours at most to complete a review, one if it’s a film I don’t particularly care about and wish to be done with by going through the expected template of a film review. After all, there’s only so much you can write about Texas Chainsaw 3D.
  • Benjamin Kramer @ The Voracious Filmgoer
  • Kristin Dreyer Kramer @ NightsAndWeekends.com
  • Donald Levit @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews
  • Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight
    • Excerpt: There have been many films dealing with the Civil War and the Antebellum Period, few have tackled the era from a slave’s point of view, giving 12 Years a Slave a level of urgency that increases its impact.
  • Carson Lund @ Are the Hills Going to March Off?
    • Excerpt: Guiding the bold, audience-reassuring turn of fate that concludes 12 Years a Slave is a privileged worldview, a perspective from which the horrors of slavery can only be rendered in full, grisly detail if there’s a guarantee of hope, however hard-won or downright unrealistic, on the other side.
  • James Madden @ Film Blerg
  • Piers Marchant @ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Matthew McKernan @ FilmWhinge
    • Excerpt: 12 Years A Slave ultimately succeeds or fails on the quality of the work of its actors in individual scenes, making it a flawed and overblown yet effective and moving drama.
  • Ryan McNeil @ The Matinee
    • Excerpt: At an important time comes an important film; a film everyone should see, even if they only ever see it once.
  • Ross Miller @ Thoughts On Film
    • Excerpt: A harrowing and brutally raw depiction of terrible atrocities that’s as compelling as it is vital.
  • Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom
  • Simon Miraudo @ Quickflix
  • Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer
    • Excerpt: Films don’t get much better than ’12 Years a Slave’
  • Frank Ochieng @ SFcrowsnest
    • Excerpt: On those rare, bold and special occasions cinema has a definitive way of capturing the historical hideousness of human despair and demoralization. Absorbing and comprehensively thought-provoking, 12 Years a Slave is one of the most hostile yet insightful movie-going experiences you will realize with glaring appreciation this year or any other year at the movies.
  • Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz
    • Excerpt: Quite possibly the definitive film about slavery in the 19th Century United States, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is not just a bleak history lesson but a literate, engaging, and ultimately devastating film that tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup and captures all the horrors of slavery along the way.
  • Tiago Ramos @ Split Screen [Portuguese]
  • Nuno Reis @ Antestreia [Portuguese]
  • Jamie S. Rich @ DVD Talk
    • Excerpt: McQueen pulls off a delicate balance between showing the real-life horrors of slavery and being exploitative.
  • Tom Santilli @ Examiner.com
    • Excerpt: 12 Years a Slave portrays compassion and tolerance above all else, as the only two virtues that are capable of overcoming such man-made evil.
  • Don Simpson @ Smells Like Screen Spirit
    • Excerpt: As with and Hunger and Shame, McQueen allows the scenes of 12 Years a Slave to play out in a series of methodically extended takes in order to maximize the audience’s emotional discomfort.
  • Amir Siregar @ Flick Magazine [Indonesian]
  • Cole Smithey @ ColeSmithey.com
    • Excerpt: McQueen Deux is an exploitation filmmaker who dabbles in outré subject matter in order to pass his phony self off as an artiste.
  • Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion
    • Excerpt: An important work, but one that’s more potent on an intellectual level than an emotional one.
  • Mel Valentin @ VeryAware.com
    • Excerpt: An unflinching, uncompromising look at American slavery.
  • Phil Villarreal @ Becauseitoldyouso.com
    • Excerpt: The film wants to hurt you, knows you are terrified of what it will show you, then shows you way more than you bargained for.
  • Andrew Wyatt @ Look/Listen (St. Louis Magazine)
    • Excerpt: At the center of 12 Years’ success is McQueen’s pure skill as a film storyteller.
Updated: July 10, 2015 — 10:57 am

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