Fences (2016) Review

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Troy Maxson is a working class African-American trying to provide for his families in the 1950s as well as battling his demons of a life he missed out on.

This film is based on a play, I always feel that when that is the case you should be pre-warned. As based on a play means that it is going to be very dialogue heavy and rely on that from start to finish. It isn’t going to be easy-going and it is certainly going to take a hell of a lot out of you by watching it.

This one is no different at all. But the positive with that is that you often end up with some incredible performances. I can happily say that we get great performances in that film from Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, they really are incredible. I think it makes such a difference that they both were in the play during its run on Broadway. That certainly helps within the film, they know the characters and have been them a lot of times. Both winning Tony Awards for their efforts, I can see them following that up with Oscars in all honesty.

Tory Maxson is an in your face character, when he is talking you must listen to everything he is saying. Whether or not he is actually telling you the truth is another thing though, as he elaborates on the events and adds in something that may or may not have happened. That is certainly how watching we become engrossed by him, consumed as we wonder what sort of life he had to be so bitter and twisted. To stop his son Corey having a chance at his dream of playing Football. Treating Rose in the right way and being faithful to her all of the time when all she does is look after him and hang on his every word.

The running time probably becomes an issue as we hit a point where we aren’t really sure which direction it is going to head in next. Emotions and tempers boil over mainly in the backyard where he is supposed to be building a fence around it. Is that a fence to stop people from getting in or out? I thought that was a very interesting moment and thought-provoking in terms of wondering why exactly we have fences around our gardens and houses.

It is a slow burner and you have to be prepared to stay with it and fully engage, not like some of the people in the cinema screening that kept going on phones or having a full on conversation . . . Probably didn’t help that I was in a Studio screening at Empire Cinemas and it is rather cosy, but that is still not the point. I can understand why it has been nominated for Best Picture though as the performances are fantastic and the way the film looks is very good as well, especially considering we get about three different places, two of which involve the house.

Interesting to really look at someone who is unhappy with their life and wonder if you will head in that same direction. Always living for finishing work the week and enjoying yourself over the days you have off. I am sure a lot of people watching will be able to relate to that moment, but hopefully hearing that out loud will make you realise that you can change things if you are not really happy with the direction in which your life is going. I guess the parts with his sons are very controversial as it really does not appear that he even likes them, willing to kick them out at a very young age to survive on their own as that happened to him. No love seems to be passed from father to son and he just feels as though they bleed him dry for money. Not something we are used to seeing on screen or even hearing about.

I am pretty sure it will be one of those films that I will still be thinking about in days to come and I am certainly all right about that! Viola Davis certainly deserves an Oscar for her efforts, although I thought she was in a leading role rather than supporting. I would love to see Denzel win as well, thought he was truly outstanding.

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8 thoughts on “Fences (2016) Review

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  1. I watched it only yesterday and have to say it is indeed a powerful film. However, as you mentioned, it really shows that it actually was a play. The performances are truely outstanding but it felt like it’s a very Academy Award type of film, the kind that is made with the purpose of getting nominated.

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