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


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


    Business Hubs

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