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


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


    Business Hubs

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