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


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


    Business Hubs

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