Based on the classic play by August Wilson, Fences is directed by Denzel Washington and stars the two-time Oscar winner alongside Oscar nominee Viola Davis. The pair actually starred in the 2010 Broadway revival of the play and it shows as the duo looks experienced playing the husband and wife at the center of this authentic drama. Fences focuses on a 1950s African-American family and the ups and down they face struggling with this thing we call life.
Denzel Washington gives a powerful performance as blue-collar Troy who gets by everyday holding onto the memories from his former baseball glory days. Troy at first comes across as very likable, thanks to that classic Denzel charm. You soon realize though Troy has a strict side that borders on spiteful. He’s the guy everyone knows that gives you his opinion even if you didn’t ask for it. Troy is funny, selfish and cruel and all these actions are brought to life by Washington who gives an Oscar worthy performance.
The director and star of Fences isn’t the only one shining in the film. Viola Davis gives a moving performance as Troy’s wife Rose who is loyal to her husband despite all his faults. You feel and see the pain in Davis’ eyes as she tries to keep her family together despite Troy doing everything to make sure it’s as difficult as possible for her to do so. Davis has the ability to convey complete sadness with ease and at times soars higher than her costar and director. You will feel Rose’s loneliness and cheer for her strength thanks to the emotional acting work from Davis.
The acting is superb in Fences especially when the casts engage in lengthy dialogue with minimum edits or cuts making you forget you’re watching a screen and not a stage. For a film that relies on strong dialogue to survive, Fences builds a robust narrative through conversation that is compelling to watch as you hear Troy attempt to talk his way out of all his problems.
Fences can feel long at times and the final act is a bit underwhelming considering the task this family puts the audience through watching them manage all their flaws. Still even with an ending that needed a little more closure, Fences is a showcase for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis who are marvelous together in the film. Troy is a hard character to root for, but you can’t stop watching him trying to make sense of a life he feels has passed him by.
Overall, I give Fences 3 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell