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


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


    Business Hubs

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