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


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


    Business Hubs

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