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


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


    Business Hubs

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