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


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


    Business Hubs

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