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


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


    Business Hubs

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