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


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


    Business Hubs

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