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


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


    Business Hubs

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