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


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


    Business Hubs

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