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


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


    Business Hubs

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