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


    Business Hubs

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