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


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


    Business Hubs

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