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


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


    Business Hubs

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