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


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


    Business Hubs

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