‘Fences’ is an adaptation of a play with the same title, but the whole time it never feels like anything other than a play on the big screen. The long scenes with a static camera only accentuates this feeling and makes the film feel like it travels at a snail’s pace. This is made even worse by the one set that dominates the film – a house in the suburbs.
The story follows Troy (Denzel Washington) as he struggles to come to grips with the changing American landscape that’s more accepting of blacks after dealing with a life full of racism as a lone Negro in Baseball. Angry at the world, he takes his frustrations out on his family that have to bear the brunt of his bitterness.
Rose Baxton (Viola Davies), Troy’s wife, is the real star of the show though and her emotional performance steals the limelight. Absolutely deserving of an oscar, Viola flexes her brilliant depth as an actress with a masterful performance that tugs at the heart strings. Not only that, but the film trailer should win an Oscar alone for being one of the best film trailers released so far this year. Absolutely sublime.
Its a shame then, that despite the brilliant acting on display, the film never really feels like it has any pace to it. For those not heavily influenced by the captivation of outstanding acting or a fan of plays in general, this isn’t going to be anything but a slow paced mediocre film. The charm of the acting does wear thin after a while and at a running time of just over 2 hours, this isn’t going to be a film for everyone.