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


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


    Business Hubs

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