A man once said, “Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.” That man was actually in the movie we are about to talk about. With a title and a line of dialogue like that, you are probably guessing that you are about to watch a movie with something to do with fences. While the building of a fence does happen, it is what happens around that fence that is important. Based on August Wilson’s play which is set in the 1950’s, “Fences”, which originally came out in 1983. Wilson actually returns to adapt his play to the big screen, with a perfect cast in tow.
Troy (Denzel Washington) is a man who works hard to put a roof over his family’s head. While he may not be very smart, he works hard, and has a knack for the sport of baseball, he just happens to have had the wrong color of skin at his peak. Troy now works for the Sanitation Office, but is the perfect picture of happiness, because of what he has at home. His rock is his wife named Rose (Viola Davis) and he also has a teenage son. That son and his brother are the only two things that give Troy pause, and that cause him the most tension. Together they go through this thing called life, with all of its peaks and valleys along the way.
“Fences” in the simplest terms, is an acting clinic. With performances led by Washington, Davis, and Mykelti Williamson just knock it out of the park is the best term I can think to use. Washington though doesn’t just act, as he also lends his talents behind the camera with his third directorial effort. This though isn’t the first time Washington and Davis played these parts, as they both played the same characters in the play’s revival in 2010. You can see the comfort level with the material, as it feels like they slipped on a familiar pair of slippers. If you are not a fan of Broadway, then this might not be the film for you. While the acting is top notch, the film is after all based on a play, and it feels like one on the movie screen. For me that was not an issue, as a fan of words, the energy behind the ones delivered in this film is contagious. There are not many better actors out there than Davis and Washington, and in “Fences” you get to see them at the top of their game. At the beginning of this review, I quoted the movie to set things up for you the reader. For me you can build a fence to keep me in, just make sure “Fences” is playing, so I can watch this acting class all over again.