Thanks to Paramount Pictures we had the chance to see ‘Fences’ before its official cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but as usual remember that there is no better critic than yourself!
Denzel Washington directs and stars in ‘Fences’, an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which tells the story of a 1950s Pittsburgh trash collector Troy Maxson, a once promising baseball player whose dreams of making it into the major leagues were crushed by the colour barrier. Filled with lifelong regret, when his son Cory (Jovan Adepo) is offered a chance at getting a football scholarship, Troy is unable to accept that times have changed and forces Cory to abandon his dreams.
But it’s not just Cory’s life Troy impacts, being a larger than life character stuck in a bubble; he affects all those closest to him. Yet to divulge more on how would only ruin the sheer brilliance of the film, as it will take you on a ride filled with humour, drama and endless dialogue that will no doubt exhaust your mind like no other Hollywood film you’ve seen in recent years.
It’s amazing how powerful a film can be when it is primarily set in one location, all revolving around a single household. A lot can be contributed to the solid script and subtle cinematography that leads each scene into the next so effortlessly, but what is most striking is the exceptional cast that leaves audiences captivated to the edge of their seats, as it did at the screening I attended. Viola Davis in particular, playing Rose, should be handed the Best Supporting Actress award in a heartbeat. By portraying a compassionate, joyous character, then gradually unravelling all their sorrows, she provides so much depth and honesty to her character. This stellar performance will strike a chord, if not be a mirror image to anyone who puts other people’s lives ahead of his or her own.
Then of course there is Denzel Washington, the talent in front of and behind the camera. As Troy, he is a domineering presence that hijacks the room with his charisma and strong-held views. Yet connects with audiences as a man with shattered dreams, unable to come to terms with his loss. As a director, he has crafted a solid film out of a superb play, bringing out the absolute best of his actors. Much praise should also be given to Denzel, in the way the story is told. Rather then spoon-feeding audiences with information, the story unfolds at its own pace, a skill so seldom seen in mainstream cinema.
With no intention of cinematic glory, or the desire to make you weep, this film offers so much more in the power of words and mesmerizing performances. It offers us a slice of life, illustrating the ways we are moulded by others and what we do thereon. A must see film to watch, particularly when you’re in the mood for something heavy and refreshing.
‘Fences’ opens in cinemas on Thursday 9th February