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Fences (2016) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 25 December 2016


Jay´s Review

American playwright August Wilson's master work consisted of 10 plays, each set in a different decade, which describe the African-American experience in Pittsburgh at that time. He received two Pulitzer Prizes for his efforts. This particular script, now a movie, is set in the 1950s.


Director Denzel Washington ("The Great Debaters"), working with actors who had performed this play with him on Broadway, brings much of his focus on his cast mates, even though, make no mistake, he IS the star. The dialogue, the rhythm and the interplay between characters all fit these folks like an old, well-worn glove. 


The cast:

  • * Denzel Washington ("The Magnificent Seven") Troy is not an easy man to be around. He didn't grow up easy and his life right now isn't easy. He is NOT going to let anyone forget it. He's a frustrated would-be pro baseball player, he's arbitrary, stubborn and proud! Denzel does NOT shy away from playing less-than-sympathetic characters.
  • * Viola Davis ("Suicide Squad") Rose knew what Troy was like, but in her opinion, the good outweighed the bad.You can't blame her if sometimes she isn't so sure...
  • * Mykelti Williamson ("Designated Survivor") Troy's brother Gabriel suffered a brain injury during a recent war. The neighborhood children are not particularly kind to him.
  • * Jovan Adepo ("The Leftovers") Cory is interested in football, not baseball, but his father has different plans.
  • * Stephan Henderson ("Tower Heist") Bono has been Troy's best friend for decades. As a result, he can tell his friend the Truth.
  • * Saniyya Sidney ("Hidden Figures") Raynell has no choice in the matter. She is where she is, for better or for worse.
When artists achieve the stature of Wilson or Washington, no one is about to tell them their work needs to be trimmed a bit. I can tell you it should be...but no one asked. You may be sure, Washington has included every single word of Wilson's script, so despite the authenticity of the dialogue and the performances, each scene runs just a little bit too long. If you look at the trailer though, you can see that his results are powerful!


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