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


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


    Business Hubs

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