Steve McQueen's brutal, stunning '12 Years a Slave'
There's one false note in 12 Years a Slave, so glaring it deserves a mention. The film is full of recognizable faces; parts played by big stars like Giamatti and Alfre Woodard amount to little more than cameos. But the last-act appearance of Brad Pitt (as an enlightened, worldly builder) proves a jarring intrusion. Pragmatically, perhaps it was worth it; Ejiofor has said in interviews that the megastar's involvement helped the film get made. But that doesn't mean it's not completely distracting. *
12 YEARS A SLAVE opens Fri/1 in Bay Area theaters.
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