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Film review

‘12 Years a Slave’ takes unflinching look at American nightmare

From left, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in “12 Years a Slave,” the story of Saratoga Springs resident Solomon Northup’s ordeal.
Photographer: Francois Duhamel/Fox Searchlight
From left, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in “12 Years a Slave,” the story of Saratoga Springs resident Solomon Northup’s ordeal.
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When a director who never ever blinks takes on a horrific subject, a nightmare in broad daylight is the inevitable result. Welcome, if that is the right word, to the world of “12 Years a Slave.”

Based on an 1853 memoir detailing the appalling experiences of Solomon Northup, a free man of color who was brazenly abducted and sold into slavery, this film intends to do more than tell us a story. It wants ...

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