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


    Business Hubs

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