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


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


    Business Hubs

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