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


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


    Business Hubs

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