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


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


    Business Hubs

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