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


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


    Business Hubs

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