Dopo l’anteprima a sorpresa a Telluride, 12 years a slave, il nuovo film di Steve McQueen, ha avuto un’accoglienza trionfale al Festival di Toronto.
Proprio mentre Alberto Barbera, direttore della Mostra di Venezia dichiarava a Le monde che il film non era al Lido perchè “the US producers of British director Steve McQueen’s upcoming historical drama “Twelve Years a Slave”, who allegedly told him that the film would only come to Venice if the Italian distributor paid for 50 people to accompany McQueen”, il film veniva mostrato alla stampa specializzata a Toronto, con esiti ancor più positivi di quanto c’era da aspettarsi.
Il Guardian gli ha assegnato 5 stellette nella sua recensione a caldo: “Stark, visceral and unrelenting, 12 Years a Slave is not just a great film but a necessary one. […] Based on a first-hand account, Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a violin player who lives a happy and relatively affluent life in Saratoga Springs, near New York City. It is 1841 and Northup is a free man apparently accepted as an equal by his white peers. When his wife takes a trip out of town, however, Northup is tempted into earning extra money by performing for a travelling circus. He heads to Washington with new companions only to be drugged, kidnapped and bound in chains just a stone’s throw from the Capitol building.
[…] 12 Years a Slave is a scarifying, unblinking portrayal of life as it was for tens of thousands of people less than 200 years ago. It pulls no punches. But neither does it lecture. McQueen chooses to let all the actions and inactions convey their own message. As the film ends, there is no barnstorming speech, promise of change or bloody revenge fantasy, just a lingering shot of a man sobbing inconsolably.”
Le reazioni della stampa americana non sono state meno entusiastiche.
In particolare, la corsa agli Oscar di febbraio, per molti andrebbe già considerata chiusa.
Su Vulture, Kyle Buchanan: Suspend the betting, close the books, and notify the engraver: I’ve just seen what will surely be this year’s Best Picture winner, and it’s 12 Years a Slave. There’s no question in my mind that this will be our ultimate awards season victor, and the fact that there’s still any room for debate at all means that Oscar bloggers were high on more than mountain air last week at the Telluride Film Festival, where the film first sneaked before tonight’s official Toronto Film Festival premiere. In fact, I’ll go one further … no, two further: Not only will 12 Years triumph in the Best Picture category, but I’d put my money on a historic Best Director win for Steve McQueen, and I’d mark Chiwetel Ejiofor as the frontrunner for Best Actor.
Dello stesso avviso Catherine Shoard: The Oscar race has been pronounced over, six months before the ceremony itself. At the Toronto film festival, the premiere of British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave was met on Friday evening with an overwhelming reception: gasps, sobs, a smattering of walk-outs at particularly brutal moments, and finally, a prolonged standing ovation. The crowds leaving the auditorium were primed to place bets on the film being an unbeatable contender for best picture, as well as McQueen for best director, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, best supporting actor for Michael Fassbender, best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o, as well as the full slate of technical nods.
Sasha Stone su Awards Daily: With perhaps his most accomplished film to date it will be hard for Academy voters to ignore Steve McQueen, one of this generation’s most talented directors. The beauty in McQueen’s work is unshakable. The formidable film is still with me, vibrantly, in all of its glory and shame.
Todd McCarthy su The Hollywood Reporter scrive: The recent popular revenge fantasy Django Unchained notwithstanding, there have been so few good and strong films about slavery in America that, for this reason alone, 12 Years A Slave stands quite tall. With director Steve McQueen dedicating himself to detailing the “peculiar institution” with as many dreadful particulars as he can, Chiwetel Ejiofor leads a fine cast with a superior performance as the real-life Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into Southern slavery until being miraculously rescued. Perhaps the nature of the story is such that the film can’t help but be obvious and quite melodramatic at times, but it gets better as it goes along and builds to a moving finish. Despite the upsetting and vivid brutality, Fox Searchlight has a winner here that will generate copious media coverage, rivet the attention of the black public, stir much talk in political and educational circles and appeal to film audiences who crave something serious and different.