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


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


    Business Hubs

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