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


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


    Business Hubs

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