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


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


    Business Hubs

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