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


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


    Business Hubs

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