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


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


    Business Hubs

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