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


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


    Business Hubs

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