Denzel Washington and Viola Davis bring their characters from the revival of August Wilson’s play to the big screen with Washington directing, and Wilson writing the screenplay. ‘Fences’ is less about racial issues in the 50’s and more about family tension and drama. If you thought living in that particular decade was easy, you should be mistaken. It was as hard for the working man as it was for a person of color; the way Washington brings the character of the God-fearing baseball expert Troy Maxson to life is a testament to a man who believes in hard work and dedication, even if it means becoming bitter to his sons (Russell Hornsby and Jovan Adepo). While Davis proves to be a strong force of nature as Troy’s caring wife, Rose.
The only problem I see with ‘Fences’ is for the first hour, I felt as if I was in a boring poker game with an obnoxious card dealer starting off the first round; a great hand was being dealt, but at the same time, I just didn’t want to be there. In other words, ‘Fences’ tries so hard to become more like the play it was based on to the point where each and every conversation (whether said by Washington, Davis, or Troy’s best friend played by Stephen Henderson) was hard to latch on to. The performances are filled with energy, and that is a good thing for an Oscar nominee, as well as a great movie, to have. But when the energy in these conversations are over-the-top and run like a jet, it is hard to ride that same jet. Luckily, ‘Fences’ slows down during its last hour, giving us real feelings and emotion to cherish while the film goes on.
Those looking for an emotional, yet intense film will find it in ‘Fences’; for the film succeeds in trying to be as great as it could be. As for me, I wish I could have been wrapped up into the fun storytelling brought on by Troy Maxson and the writing of August Wilson.