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


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


    Business Hubs

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