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Fortunately, Washington has monstrous performances in his pocket, he does not and will not take them for granted.
Denzel Washington, an actor-turned-director, directs his films just as any other actor would, should. And if done properly, just as he does, the film is going to be emotionally fluent in its vocab. And the characters are respected more than the plot and the performance given the priority. The film is crafted around those performances. Almost as if it was created to showcase their talents to the best of their ability. It rattles the Academy members and announces in their ears. A call for attention. And boy what fun it is to see them give what they would like to. Adapting the infamous play for the screen, Washington tries his best to make it not seem like a play.
He makes things mobile, he keeps characters apart as much as he can, he novelizes the idea, he keeps montage sequences to make time flow. These are the scenes where the film comes alive. For these are the scenes where the truth is spoken. Fences is a bit Shakespeare-ean and a bit verbally challenged. In the sense that the characters call out to their fate and claim their destiny as a part of pain and endurance. And it is verbally dysfunctional just as Noah Baumbach's world.
Which I think is the best for I love these sorts of narration. And as beautifully does it capture the ambiguous subtextual theme, it also gives away the final result at a certain point. And that is the only tiny element of the script that kept bugging me. For the real drama is the thought provoking ideas bouncing in our head as each of these characters are studied and portrayed. Now, what happens is the definite answer orders us to stop letting it wander. The imagination is held back and as mentioned before, the emotions takes charge, the performance steers the film then.
Very boring. Very , very boring.
I did not bear more than 20 minutes and asked myself, who on earth would like to watch such a tedious film?
Exactly what I thought it would be, but in the best way possible. Touching, sad, realistic, beautiful. The acting is really convincing and it grabs the viewers attention, even though the movie is slow-paced.
Denzel Washington both, stars and directs this Oscar-worthy drama with extreme confidence and reduced set-places in order to make this flick completely strong and almost dependent of the performances, which are top-notch coming from Washington and Viola Davis, providing excellent character, dialogue and acting in general, which unfortunately are the strongest cards of the film, overall, since it won't possess enough strength to flow as other superior flicks.
When it comes to the world of movies, action and excitement is king. Fences may have been a hit on a traditional stage, however its long scenes filled jam packed with dull, meaningless dialogue did not provide the viewers with any sensual stimulation throughout the picture. In addition to this, Fences' failure to convey characterization, metaphor and theme in a meaningful, fulfilling way leaves me thinking that it shouldn't have been made into a movie.
Evidently, in Fences, the fence plays a central role in our understanding of the story. There are so many metaphors that come from and themes that relate to the fence that it is almost impossible to catch them all without watching the movie more than once. Almost every main character had their own metaphor relating to the fence. For example, the fence symbolized Troy's constant struggle to advance in his career due to discrimination he faced because of his skin color. In addition to this, Rose also used the fence as a metaphor to justify her idea that the fences completion would keep her and her family together, protecting them and keeping them safe from the dangers of the outside world. We know that everyone in the story wants the fence to be finished, however as we watch on it is clear that the fence is one of those projects that will never get finished, similar to how the metaphors stemming from Troy and Rose's relation to the fence will never fully come to fruition.
A huge theme in Fences was race, it was discussed constantly throughout the book and the movie, which makes sense considering the time period that the story as set in. As a viewer however, I only heard about the racism that was encountered by our main characters, it feels like no attempt was made to try to give the audience a peek into what Troy was dealing with. As a play, it makes sense that Fences was really only set in Troy and Rose's house. In a movie however, Fences sticking to just the one main scene just feels like laziness when you look at the amount of resources that the director had at their fingertips when designing the set. If we look we are able to pick up on the main ideas, such as the fence being a metaphor for racism referencing the segregation that was running rampant at the time, but having such a central idea to the story be something that the viewers don't get really get to experience without trying is a good example of how Fences flopped as a movie. James Berardinelli, a professional movie critic on rotten tomatoes wrote in his review that "Fences suffers somewhat from the bare-bones transferal of the "action" from stage to screen." As a movie, the ideas and content are there, but the amount of effort required to pick up on them makes me wonder if I should've just stuck to the book.
In addition to race, masculinity was a crucial element of fences and fortunately, unlike race, it wasn't as too difficult for the viewer to pick up on. As Tom Bond, another professional movie critic stated, "When the actors click, Fences singsï¿ 1/2" I think that this is a very accurate analysis of the film, because anyone who watched it knows that a lot of scenes just feel a little rough. Most of the conflicts involving masculinity, however, played out in a way that made sense in a movie setting. Seeing interactions involving characters such as Cory, Lyons and Gabe and the conflicts that arose from their own view of masculinity seemed to happen in a setting that a viewer could relate to. Throughout the movie, these characters had to come to terms with the fact that, the precedent for masculinity set by Troy might not have fit their reality, and that they might have to make decisions that go against Troy's wishes. Even if he meant the best, Troy's definition of and belief in pure masculinity left the other men in the story in a position where they had to concillitate with Troy regarding the fact that his vision wasn't one that completely applied to them, or risk the false idea of the necessity of pure masculinity getting in the way of their dreams.
Overall, Fences tells a story of an average, everyday man named Troy who grew in a time where society dictated his role almost entirely by his skin color and his manliness. However, as times changed Troy demonstrated that he was unable to adapt, and rather than address the fact that times have changed he stuck to what he knew best and hoped that the people who were closest to him would follow suit. The tension caused by this ultimately ended up dividing the family and resulted in nothing positive. The problem with Fences wasn't the ideas and content that were presented, in fact I believe that those two aspects of it are fairly strong. The problem was its transition to the movie. The fences movie fundamentally lacked many of the characteristics that help to reel in viewers. It was set in one main scene the entire time, and it seemed like so many of the key ideas were only really addressed, rather than experienced, a crucial element in terms of a movies appeal. All this, in addition to the onslaught of near meaningless dialogue reaffirms my belief that Fences was better left as just a play.
Asking to be put to sleep.
A solid transitioning adaptation from stage to screen with an identical flow and spirit to mark the faithfulness, particularly the electrifyingly strong, affecting performances from the returned main cast, roaming around the cinematically-enabled extra dimensional setting to further express the close impacts of the overall power that supposedly radiates from the initial form as a way to understand that very effect without seeing it live - even though it could’ve gone a little further regarding the thematically noticeable lineage. (B+) (Full review TBD)
A bit slow as this was more of a play adapted to the screen.
To read the manuscript or witness a theatrical production is transforming. Denzel Washingtonâ(TM)s performance as a Director hits this one out of the park. His supporting character as a husband, father and friend pales to Viola Davisâ(TM) breathtaking performance as the true anchor and heart of this award winning and heartfelt story. Five tomatoes
Top class acting, a beautiful drama.