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


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


    Business Hubs

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