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


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


    Business Hubs

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