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


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


    Business Hubs

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