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


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


    Business Hubs

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