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


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


    Business Hubs

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