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


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


    Business Hubs

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