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


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


    Business Hubs

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