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


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


    Business Hubs

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