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


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


    Business Hubs

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