Opening February 16, 2017
Directed by: Denzel Washington
Writing credits: August Wilson
Principal actors: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Horsnby, Mykelti Williamson
“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.” -Bono, Fences
If you want to see first-hand how cyclic mistakes and situations manifest and sustain, this is the film for you. But you must have a strong stomach and tissues at hand.
Fences is a brilliant film. Tense and painfully honest, it leaves you with a telling moral: do your best to figure your issues out or they pass on to the next generation. Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson, a garbage collector living in Pittsburgh with his wife Rose (Davis) and son Cory (Adepo). Troy also has an older son Lyon (Hornsby) from another woman who comes around paydays looking for loans. He is also a talented jazz musician. Troy's handicapped brother Gabriel played heartbreakingly by Williamson occasionally visits the house. With the addition of Troy's colleague and friend Bono (Henderson), who plays the wise ear, the story revolves around these characters. Through them you witness the gradual unraveling of Troy.
You won't see a lot of action in this film, mostly a robust and slow revealing dialogue. You see the family day to day, the acting so real you start to believe they really live there. You hear what is said and see what is unsaid: the repercussions of omission; the wrenching consequences of deception and, most of all, how the language of love is utterly complicated.
Washington keeps on surprising, as a director and an actor; this is one of his best films. He transforms into Troy, showing us how convoluted it is to be human, how childhood conditioning can surpass logic and willpower, and how love continues to grow despite it all. A fine film played by an outstanding cast that will make you think about your own life. ( )