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


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


    Business Hubs

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