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


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


    Business Hubs

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