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


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


    Business Hubs

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