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


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


    Business Hubs

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