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


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


    Business Hubs

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