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


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


    Business Hubs

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