Tuesday, January 10, 2017


FENCES the movie is a fair representation of August Wilson's play, but it isn't the great movie I was hoping for. Denzel Washington stars and directs and he maybe took on too much. His direction is pretty placid and his acting, always terrific in my memory, needed a better, or different, director in a few crucial scenes, particularly the centerpiece when his character reveals the truth of his early life which helped make him the man he became.

Maybe I just saw too much of Denzel and not enough of Troy (his character) in the performance, particularly that revelatory scene. For me it was anti-climartic and hard to buy that Denzel was really that guy who'd gone through all that. He still has moments of great acting as always, and Viola Davis did her usual seriously committed job, as did the other actors.

But for me, with the exception of Mykelti Williamson as Troy's mentally damaged combat veteran brother Gabriel, nothing rose to the level of the accolades I'd been hearing about it. Glad I saw it. And I do recommend it, for some of Wilson's dialogue and scenes and memorable characters, and the historic importance of the play and the movie's just existing, let alone winning critical acclaim.

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