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


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


    Business Hubs

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