Given the build up to Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, there was a slight air of tension as it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. Expectation does horrible things to movies; luckly, this true story has been told in earnest, and the critics have lavished praise upon it.

Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a SlaveChiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave

The film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti and Sarah Paulson, tells the story of Soloman Northrup – a man born free by stolen into poverty when he was kidknapped in New York.

So far, 12 Years a Slave – which is already whipping up some serious Oscar buzz – has a score of 100% on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a score that can’t really stay the same, but represents a fantastic start for the film. Here are what the critics are saying about it:

Check out the trailer for 12 Years a Slave

“This epic account of an unbreakable soul makes even Scarlett O'Hara's struggles seem petty by comparison,” say Variety in their beaming review. “Amistad meets the Marquis de Sade, in the form of slavemaster Michael Fassbender, who puts his victims through more tortures than Mel Gibson ever could have imagined for Jesus,” write The Playlist.

“Northup's story was a true, terrible thing, and by virtue of telling it, the burdens of all American slaves are unflinchingly realized by Ejiofor and McQueen alike,” say, while indieWIRE call it “...a particularly noteworthy advancement in McQueen's already impressive filmography that funnels the cerebral formalism of his earlier features into a deeply involving survival narrative.”

Michael FassbenderFassbender is unflinching in 12 Years a Slave

All in all, it looks as though this slavery epic is justifying all of the early Oscar hype. Come February, we could be seeing a few golden statuettes handed out to both cast and crew for this one.