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


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


    Business Hubs

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