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


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


    Business Hubs

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