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


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


    Business Hubs

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