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


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


    Business Hubs

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