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


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


    Business Hubs

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