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


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


    Business Hubs

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