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


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


    Business Hubs

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