Catch-Up Film Review: Fences

“Some People Build Fences To Keep People Out And Other People Build Fences To Keep People In…”

Before we begin, a small round of applause is needed alongside a suitable level of kudos for Viola Davis, with a win for best supporting actress at this year’s Academy Awards by no means a small, meaningless feat, and whilst most of the hype surrounding Fences has been towards its’ two leading stars in the form of Davis and Denzel Washington, who also serves up the time to act as the film’s director, the fact that these two have previous in regards to the late August Wilson’s famous play gives the cinematic adaptation at least a suitable level of credence regarding its’ existence on the big-screen, particularly after the success of the stage play both during its’ first run in the 1980’s and its’ revival in 2010 of which Davis and Washington both starred and won subsequent Tony Awards for. The big question remains however is whether Fences is the type of movie which ultimately works on the big screen after its’ success on stage, and whilst Washington’s adaptation feels like a successful larger platform for its’ leading stars to flourish, the overall execution is somewhat plodding in places, over-dramatic in parts and a movie which doesn’t exactly break the chains of its’ stage-constructed genetic code.

Whilst Davis reaps the historical element in terms of her Oscar win, which in retrospect and in my own personal opinion deserved to go to Naomie Harris for Moonlight, Washington is without doubt the powerhouse element of the movie, portraying the character of Troy Maxson in a manner both entirely delicate and masterful that the audience’s feelings towards such changes from hatred to sympathetic in the course of a few simple scene changes. A forgotten man whose regret and failures resonate on those around him, the character of Maxson is the archetypal father figure of the mid 20th century; bullish, hateful and hell bent on the outdated rule of adhering to generic gender and familial conventions, Washington is spellbinding from beginning to end. Where the film inevitably falls down is in the rather tedious elements in which it fails to disperse itself from its’ stage-based heritage, with endless, trivial moments of ludicrously over-dramatised dialogue which honestly, do not sit entirely right on the big-screen, resulting in a feeling of willingness come the end to be sat in a smoky auditorium instead, revelling in the notion of witnessing a live performance of a tale which is albeit powerful, is inherently stage-worthy.

Overall Score: 6/10

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Posted on 09/03/2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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