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


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


    Business Hubs

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