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


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


    Business Hubs

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