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


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


    Business Hubs

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