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


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


    Business Hubs

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