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


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


    Business Hubs

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