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


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


    Business Hubs

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