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


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


    Business Hubs

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