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


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


    Business Hubs

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