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


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


    Business Hubs

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