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


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


    Business Hubs

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