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


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


    Business Hubs

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