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


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


    Business Hubs

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