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


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


    Business Hubs

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