Film Reviews: Opening This Week (Oct. 14-18, 2013)

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A critical digest of the week’s latest U.S. theatrical releases.

12 Years a Slave
Fox Searchlight
Had Steve McQueen not already christened his previous picture thus, “Shame” would have been the perfect one-word title to capture the gut-wrenching impact of his third and most essential feature, “12 Years a Slave.” Based on the true story of free black American Solomon Northup’s kidnapping and imposed bondage from 1841 to 1853, this epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O’Hara’s struggles seem petty by comparison. But will audiences have the stomach for a film that rubs their faces in injustice? As performed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Northup’s astounding story is too compelling not to connect with American audiences, and important enough to do decent business abroad as well.
— Peter Debruge
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All Is Lost
Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions
As close to pure existential…

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