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


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


    Business Hubs

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