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


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


    Business Hubs

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