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


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


    Business Hubs

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