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


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


    Business Hubs

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