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


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


    Business Hubs

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