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


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


    Business Hubs

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