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


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


    Business Hubs

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