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


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


    Business Hubs

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