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


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


    Business Hubs

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