Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson
Directed by: Denzel Washington
Written by: August Wilson
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hr. 18 min
With some films, you just know they’re going to be a slam-dunk. Fences, written by August Wilson, premiered on Broadway on March 26th, 1987. It starred James Earl Jones and Mary Alice, and won a bunch of Tony awards. In 2010 the play was revived with Denzel Washington in the lead role, and once again won a bunch of Tony awards. It’s a great play, a great screenplay, and you’ve got some of the best actors today playing parts they know like the back of their hands.
This story should resonate with anyone who feels like they’re losing the battle to get ahead. That despite doing everything they can, they just can’t break the societal and financial restraints that hold them down, or get out of their own way. Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) is a very complex character. Hounded by what could have been, taunted by his own fears of mortality, and unable to find a way out of his predicament. He understands his responsibilities, but his self-destructive nature always finds a way to pull him down. He fools himself, occasionally blames others, but is also a victim of systemic racism in the 1950s.
The power in this story stems from the script and the performances from the cast, and Denzel the director seems to understand this. The entire film is shot simply, and there’s no over-the-top score cueing your emotions. As I said, sometimes you just know when a film is going to be good. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are stunning in this film, and will likely receive some well-deserved attention during award season.
This plays like a stage play more than a film. Expect a dialogue heavy script and great performances.
It’s in the trailer. When Troy’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis), expresses her frustrations after receiving some terrible news from Troy.