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


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


    Business Hubs

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