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


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


    Business Hubs

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