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


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


    Business Hubs

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