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


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


    Business Hubs

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