Fences is an enthralling and pensive film exploring the fractured family and character of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburg sanitation worker. Taking place in the 1950s, there is definite racial commentary happening through the film. Although, it is an undercurrent. The family conflict and a character study of a broken man takes center stage.
Speaking of the stage, the film is based on the infamous August Wilson play by the same name. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, the leads of the film, also played leads in the play. The interesting thing is that they played the leads on stage for many years. Way before the idea of making the film ever came about. So they understood their characters very well.
However, when the idea for the film did come, it came from Denzel himself. A seasoned actor with a few directorial efforts under his belt, and already being in the play for so long made him the perfect actor/director to pull this film off. And for the most part, he does.
Fences is a very good film. Troy, played by Denzel Washington, and Rose, played by Viola Davis, feel real. Everyone in the film feels like a real person. Which is one of my favorite aspects of the film. The characterization through the writing is terrific. There was a lot of attention to detail. For instance shooting anamorphic. Denzel chose to use anamorphic lenses because they draw more attention to the face. Further accentuating the dramatic tone of the film and the features of the actors.
Fences offers some stellar performances. Great writing on the part of August Wilson and great direction on the part of Denzel Washington. The score also accompanies the film very well. I think the cinematography and blocking/staging could have been better. One of the character arcs didn’t really feel complete by the end of the film. But over all this is a great film and I would recommend it to almost anyone.