Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fences - Movie Review

Starring Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby and Mykelti Williamson.
Written by August Wilson.
Directed by Denzel Washington.


August Wilson adapted his own 1983 play, and I can't help but think it might have been better if someone else had, to remove some of the stage-iness of it. Maybe that was on purpose.

This feels so much like a play, you'd think you were watching a Fathom Events instead of a movie. That's not necessarily a bad thing, when I think of how cool it would have been to watch Denzel Washington and Viola Davis perform this play live. But if you're going to be a movie, be a movie!

If Arthur Miller had Death of a Salesman, this is Wilson's Death of a Garbageman. Denzel plays Troy Maxson, a garbageman in the 1950's who felt like he missed his chance for greatness when he was a star in the Negro Leagues but never went to the major leagues. He works hard, he has a great wife, he has a long-time best friend (Stanley Henderson) he can talk with at work and drink with afterwards. He has a troubled relationship with his two sons, and the reasons why become more obvious as the story unfolds.

Troy eventually reveals himself to be more self-centered than originally perceived, and his destructive attitudes threaten his home life. Troy is outspoken, audacious, pernicious, a true galaxy of a man, and not a sympathetic one by the time we get to the third act. And we feel most for his wife Rose (Viola), a woman who gave up on her dreams and sense of self to stay with Troy.

I thought Michelle Williams had a pretty good shot at Best Supporting Actress for Manchester by the Sea, but now I think Davis has this in the bag.

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