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


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


    Business Hubs

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