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


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


    Business Hubs

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