Directed by and starring Denzel Washington and featuring the Academy Award winning Viola Davis and based on the play by August Wilson,Fences tells the story of a family struggling with life in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s as Troy Maxson [Washington] builds fences [literally and metaphorically] around his family as he fights the demons of himself hoping he doesn’t become the thing he hates the most in the world..his father.

This film started life as a stage-play and this is where this film comes a cropper,there is a massive difference between a stage-play and a cinematic film and this film shows it up big time.The transformation from stage to screen needs to be done so that the audience doesn’t feel as if they are watching something they don’t want to watch.Cinema is a wide open canvas,where an artist can paint what they want and expand to wherever they want to go.A stage play is confined to the stage,what you see is what you get,the actors are stuck where they are,they cannot just suddenly walk off the screen and into another world.This is what traps this film in it’s box,there is no scope to the film,it is a stage play,a turgid near 3 hour stage play,with no interval for the audience to get massively ¬†blindly drunk so they can sit through the final act of what has been basically half a dozen people arguing in the backyard in between long and tedious meandering monologues by Washington as the rest of the cast drink cheap gin from a bottle as I wish I had been watching it..

The film is a slow and depressing mess but the acting abilities of Viola Davis manage to save us from a sinking ship as she battles on screen with Washington with every breath in her lungs.Washington,to his credit,does act the part very well but the ego does runneth over as he tries to be Olivier and Gielgud rolled into one.The film stagnates with the monotone acting of the rest of the cast that seem to be auditioning for Hamlet into a stale interpretation of the play and when the trumpet plays at the end of the film it did feel as if St Peter had come to save us all from what was a massively disappointingly boring,unremarkable film and that fault is purely because the makers of the film have used no creative juices and just plonked the play on a piece of film and bored the pants of me for 3 hours..

It felt as if I was watching a cheap covers band of a top music act,this is not what cinema is about,if I want to watch a stage play re-enacted word for word and scene for scene then I will go to the theatre and watch it.What I got here was a sub-standard interpretation and not what the cinema is about..I was half expecting the cast to come onto the screen at the end and take a collective bow and thank the audience for coming!

Sadly to say that this “film” was not for me,I didn’t enjoy it from the moment Washington started the film with a 10 minute monologue and and I hated it more as it went on..

probably great as a stage play but rubbish as a film version..

Joxer Film Rating


Viola Davis



One thought on “Fences

  1. I have never understood the need to try and turn everything into Hollywood blockblusters. Some things are best left in their original genres… and this is definitely one such example. Not every play; book; or episode from history needs the might of the American Movie Industry.. some things really just to be left best alone. Great review and an honest assessment that will save many from being squashed in a cinema seat for far too long and for no good reason.

    Liked by 1 person

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