Quick Flick: Fences

Adapted from August Wilson's play of the same name, Fences follows Troy Maxson as he raises his family in 1950s America. Driven by two powerful leads, it is a deeply affecting tale that delivers a number of powerful scenes and unexpected twists and turns. 

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are simply stunning as Troy and Rose, the embattled married couple who the film revolves around. They both deliver arguably the strongest performances of their careers, depicting charismatic, sweet and sensitive characters to perfection. In fact, Washington wholeheartedly deserves to win the Best Actor category at this weekend's Oscars while Davis is perhaps even more deserving of Best Supporting Actress, giving a wonderfully measured and subtle performance as the grounded, resilient Rose. 

It is clear from the off that Fences originated on stage. Largely set in the Maxson's house, many of the scenes move to and fro from the backyard to the kitchen and the directing is relatively simplistic and understated. 

This is far from a criticism though, as it allows the characters to flourish and establishes the dialogue-driven structure of the film, placing the focus on the progress and struggles of the family. The steady spotlight on Troy and Rose creates a depth to their characters that is rarely seen on screen, with the cracks in their life subtly revealing themselves as the film progresses. 

Supporting performances from Stephen Henderson as jovial close friend Bono, Jovan Adepo as optimistic younger son Cory and Russell Hornsby as their quietly confident older son Lyons add to the warmth and emotional heart of the film while providing a fascinating look at the differing generations of the family, with Cory given a particularly hard time by his father. 

Mykelti Williamson's performance as Troy's older brother Gabriel, who is mentally disabled from a war injury, is the only weaker performance, at times overplaying the character and detracting from the emotional significance of scenes.

On the surface, Fences may seem a little too simplistic in its execution. But it is an adaptation done perfectly, remaining faithful to the original by creating deep characters that glow with humour and emotion to create an enrapturing tale of working class weakness and resilience.