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


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


    Business Hubs

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