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


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


    Business Hubs

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