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


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


    Business Hubs

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