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


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


    Business Hubs

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