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


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


    Business Hubs

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