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


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