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


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


    Business Hubs

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