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


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


    Business Hubs

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