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


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


    Business Hubs

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