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


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


    Business Hubs

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