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


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


    Business Hubs

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