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


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


    Business Hubs

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