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


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


    Business Hubs

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