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


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


    Business Hubs

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