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


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


    Business Hubs

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