Sunday, February 12, 2017
Fences is taken from the Pulitzer prize winning play of the same name by August Wilson.
It tells the story of long time married couple Troy and Rose Maxson (Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprising their Broadway roles) in 1950s Pittsbourgh, and their immediate family.
Troy has a son with Rose, Cory, who he is very tough on, and another older son from a previous relationship, Lyons.
Troy has a chequered past, being jailed for murder, but also being a talented baseball player. In his later life he is working in sanitation with his mate Bono.
Rose is aware of Troy's flaws but loves him all the same. Rounding out the cast is Troy's brother Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson) who has mental health issues after a head injury.
The play follows their struggles and the fact Troy has some serious issues himself that prevent the family from complete happiness. Things take a rough turn mid film as a secret is revealed and the already struggling family makes a life changing decision.
This is a serious drama about families, secrets, mistakes, love, hate, and retribution. It is filmed well despite coming from a play. All the action takes place in the family home, it's backyard, and surrounding streets.
The cast is superb, every single one of them. However Davis and Washington shine. Washington is stunning as the mean spirited and broken Troy, and Davis steals almost every scene she is in, with her humanity and heart break.
This is not a completely bleak film, there are moments of laughter, and promise, and hope.
Directed by Washington, this is a stunning film. Beautifully filmed against a suburban background, he plays with the natural light and this showcases the performances and scenes well.
I'm unsure about Denzel, but I am certain Davis will walk away with an Oscar for her superb performance in Fences.