12 Years a Slave: Intense, disturbing, brilliantly acted

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comNovember 20, 2013 

Film Review 12 Years a Slave

This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Benedict Cumberbatch, left, and Chiwetel Ejofor in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Jaap Buitendijk)

JAAP BUITENDIJK — AP

12 Years a Slave is based on the true story and autobiography of Solomon Northrup, a black free man living in New York before the Civil War. Educated and sophisticated, Northrup was kidnapped and taken to the deep South, where he was made a slave.

Director Steve McQueen's film is intense and disturbing and a horrifying picture of what the pre-Civil War slaves endured. Notable performances are turned in from Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt and others. The best work is Michael Fassbender's crazed slave owner.

Director: Steve McQueen

Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated R for extreme violence, nudity, mature themes. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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