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


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


    Business Hubs

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