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


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


    Business Hubs

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