About – A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950’s, while coming to terms with the events in his life.
Fences based upon August Wilsons play ‘Fences’. August is also the screenplay writer and has adapted it into a film with the help of Denzel Washington as director. Fences is the hard-hitting truth of what life is/was like for African-American families. Trust, dreams, fatherhood, childhood, working and family. Fences shows us but also educates us with how hard life truly is/was.
Troy (Denzel Washington) works as a dustbin man, whose dreams were shattered on becoming a professional baseball player because he was deemed too old for the sport. However, Troy thinks it was because of the colour of his skin. Rose (Viola Davis), Troy’s wife has a child Cory (Jovan Adepo) who is working for a football scholarship at college. Yet, Troy dismisses this option and squashes his sons dreams by forcing him to get a real job.
The scenes are very minimal, with roughly two/three locations used throughout, the house, inside and out, and a bar. Then there are other locations but only briefly, like Troy at work. These intimate locations let us settle into the common lifestyle of these characters, which works perfectly for us to feel the tension, passion and realism within the family.
Denzel’s character is one of the hardest but realistic characters I’ve seen within 2017. Troy could be talking about something so small and then a look or a comment from someone and everything would change. The atmosphere in and around the film would change within a split second. The frustration and issues that Troy has with his own father, himself and society is seen within these very minimal locations and characters.
Viola puts on the performance of her career. Rose showed how African-American women wanted to stand-up to the nonsense of their partners doing. Viola didn’t hold back into this performance, she showed the passion she had for this story. She wanted to portray the realism of her character that is still happening today for African-American families.
The only downside to Fences was the first act. With the space being in and around the family home with these new characters, it was hard to concentrate on one particular scene or conversation. There wasn’t enough breathing space for us to digest what was said. However, by the second act there was more understanding of what was going on. Only because we get used to the surroundings and fast pace dialogues.
Fences had some small flaws. However, overall and with performances from Denzel and Viola they truly made this viewing an emotional roller-coaster. Fences portrayed such a real and raw insight into life as an African-American in the 1950’s.