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


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


    Business Hubs

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