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


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


    Business Hubs

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