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


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


    Business Hubs

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