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


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


    Business Hubs

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