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


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


    Business Hubs

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