Fences: Film Review


Writer:August Wilson, Director: Denzel Washington, Runtime: 2h19m Full Cast & Crew
“How come you ain’t ever like me?”. What a thing to ask your father, I said to myself. Later, I caught wind of James Earl Jones doing the same scene. As he was in the play version many years ago. Then another video appeared with Leading Male, Denzel Washington, doing his version of the same play. What made it more interesting, was the audience was laughing. I couldn’t help but feel extremely perplexed by how such a scene could come off as comedic. So, I went and what I got was a film so distant to any film I’ve seen like it. Through the guise of spectacular acting, this motion picture felt more like a play than 24 frames rushing past your eyes.

What good editors will tell you, and I’m even sure this a quote from the Godfather’s editor, a cut should feel like a person blinking, more so than a cut for cuts sake. (Post Edit, its from Walter Murch). This was achieved here. The dialogue is so quick and cohesive that you don’t get to notice when the edits actually happen. That’s beautiful work in my eyes.

Denzel, Davis and co. Give such outstanding performances Watching the leads had me in such awe. The first half of the film belongs to Denzel. While the second is a humble share, if not impeccably dominated, by Viola. She steals scenes and she is the best in the business at doing so. I doubt she means to. But her hard work and talent that she’s has had over the years is simply being manifested into her performances. It’s hot actually.. My pick for best supporting actress at this year’s Oscars is without doubt,Stephen Henderson! (Jim Bono Character) He didn’t miss a beat and he had all the right emotion to match with the provided story. His first few scenes with Denzel, made Denzel better by providing someone grounded yet as crazy as Denzel’s character is.

The title is meant as an allegory that both works and doesn’t. Less the latter than the former. There’s so much happening with the people in the story, that the fence is benign. His Wife asks him to build it, however, it’s occurs so quickly, I nearly missed it. Each time it’s mentioned later, I barely cared as there was so much more going on(namely with his brother which had some of Denzel’s best acting for me, it added nothing to the story since there’s so much more happening that he can’t even build the fence. The fence is the least interesting part of the story.  Then you get to The confession and Viola Davis’ third, well-written act & tremendous performance. By that part, you have lost all interest in the fence. Maybe in the play it holds more of a meaningful presence. It then can be argued the cinematography or rather, the medium as a whole caused the fence to fall so far into the background. But that’s neither here nor there. Needless to say, the story being central to the fence is very misleading (even if it is apparent). Allegories shouldn’t be verbal in cinema, they should either be purely visible (through set pieces to cinematography) or simply acted out in body language/ actual deeds. Denzel and co dropped the ball on that in my eyes.

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Denzel deserves a nod for direction I feel as well. His choices with bringing the production to life were spectacular.

Bottomline: If you want to see a film that has tremendous acting and editing, see this one. It deserves all the nominations for those sort of categories. But it certainly doesn’t deserve a win for best picture(the nomination is fair). It should be nominated for set design or production coordination editing and of course any and all for acting.

 

  • Overall rating of the movie: 7 out of 10,
  • Cinematography: 8 out of 10,
  • Editing: 8.7 out of 10,
  • Audio: 7 out of 10,
  • Acting: 10 out of 10,

Theatres or wait for the blu-ray? Not a bad pick up if you wish to buy it, but this is more a Netflix stream than anything.

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coolyongelew

Comic nerd. Movie lover Director Gaffer/Lighting Tech D.O.P. Photographer

2 thoughts on “Fences: Film Review”

    1. Yea. The story just didn’t do it for me. But the quality of acting from everyone was just so good.

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