Film Blog

12 Years a Slave – A Missed Opportunity?

posted by the hanging out team - Sunday, January 26, 2014

12 Years a Slave is adapted by screenwriter and novelist John Ridley and directed by Steve McQueen from a memoir written 150 years ago, by Solomon Northup.  It tells the true story of a black man born free in New York State, tricked, drugged and snatched off the streets of Washington and sold into slavery in the South.

There are great performances from all cast members with, Chiwetel Ejiofor holding on to the dignity of Northup, making the audience question what you would do if your freedom and power were taken away over night. Lupita Nyong'o makes a stunning debut as Patsey, a field slave who was born into slavery.

McQueen effortlessly draws you along the journey of the film with strong powerful visuals that tackle and immerse you into the ugly realities of slavery head on.

We get a well composed continued shot of Solomon's wondering face full of hope, fear and loss after a conversation with a sympathetic carpenter Bass, played by Brad Pitt, then his view falls onto the audience, engaging you into this moment of reflection on the journey he’s been through.

We also see Northup become the victim of an attempted lynching by his overseer, as he dangles from a tree by his neck, his toes scrabbling on the ground desperately trying to keep him self from dying. McQueen shoots this scene as a punishing long take from a distance. It’s length and intensity impresses on the audience a feeling of crisis.

The film has a very swift end, that feels rushed and I was left wanting more of Solomon Northup’s journey as a free man in New York. What was everyday life like for black people during that time in the free North? An opportunity was missed here to delve deeper into this story, as I think only then would the audience have truly been able to feel the real contrast between having freedom in one moment and then losing it all in the next.

You can watch 12 Years a Slave until the 30th January at the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green.

Elam Forrester, Hanging Out Project Writer

Recent Posts


Britney Spears Michael Fassbender Best Director Paul Dano Robots of Brixton Joe Walker Zack Snyder Adepero Oduye Idris Elba fieldslave Slavery The Life of Pi black man Rich Mix historical America Brad Pitt Felicity Jay Huguley best motion picture The Harder They Come Don Letts Hanging Out Best Actor Hans Zimmer Stoker Django Unchained Sean Paul Ky-mani Marley The Avengers Drama Poster Superman Sue Eakin African American Memory Loss lynching Rob Steinberg film screenwriter HBO TV Jeremy Kleiner One Love New Orleans Patsey Benedict Cumberbatch memoir Cameron Zeigler Devyn A. Tyler Robert Redford Lupita Nyong'o Russell Crowe Steve McQueen Chiwetel Ejiofor long take Quentin Tarantino Solomon Northup Louisiana west end pub Fantasy Paul Giamatti violent Platt free North New York State controversy channel 4 interview 2013 Sundance Film Festival CGI novelist Sarah Paulson freeman British epic Jonah Illustrator Rick Elgood United States Deep South Black Friday Regency Enterprises Bill Pohlad overseer Ruth Negga Magnolia carpenter Bass cotton Saratoga Springs Shaggy Slaves Writer Dementia tricked Frank Langella Kibwe Tavares true story Dwight Henry Michael K. Williams Richard Parker Michael Fanti Elam Forrester Joseph Logsdon Sundance Film Festival Bob Marley short film 2014 Golden Globes Yvonne Deutschman Jamie Foxx violence Christoph Waltz Kelsey Scott Madonna Dede Gardner Anthony Katagas Benghal Tiger Leonardo DiCaprio Bob Marley’s son Bethnal Green Sizzla 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s independence Kilburn Factory Fifteen walk the line Brixton Riots Trevor D Rhone Bryan Batt Man of Steel Zanzibar 150 years ago Destrehan Bill Camp freedom Morgan Heritage Taran Killam Science Fiction revenge Garret Dillahunt Prometheus Oscars Michael Shannon Chris Chalk Scoot McNairy 12 Years a Slave marek tarkowski Hanging Out Project Peter Sarsgaard Bocage Wyclef Jean Christopher Berry Robot and Frank Alfre Woodard drugged Arnon Milchan Jamaica Ang Lee Best Picture John Ridley 1853 Washington Quvenzhané Wallis Cherine Anderson Sly and Robbie Henry Caville nine Academy Award Sean Bobbitt


    Business Hubs

    Tuareg Productions LTD
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space