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


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


    Business Hubs

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