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


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


    Business Hubs

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