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


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


    Business Hubs

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