Denzel Washington stars and directs in this story of a man in his fifties who feels that he’s missed out on life by working as a refuse collector to support his wife and son.
The trailer for Fences has been doing the rounds for what feels like months, and while it captures the superb acting that makes this film so good, it doesn’t give away all the film’s surprises.
The direction is assured but none-too-subtle, from Washington who proves competent behind the camera. Based on a play, the film barely leaves the family’s house, keeping the drama highly focused on the family.
The son, Corey (Jovan Adepo), gets the chance at a football scholarship, but father Troy (Washington) has been stung by his own inability to get into professional baseball despite being a star player. This is only a part of the story, though, in this wide-reaching family drama that plays like a working class Death of a Salesman.
There is a strong ensemble cast, but Viola Davis is the highlight as Troy’s wife Rose. Both actors have previously played the characters on stage, and clearly know the roles inside out. There’s a warmth and love between the two characters which was missing from the relationships in other recent films Manchester by the Sea and Loving (ironically). They make a very believable couple, which makes their marital strife all the more heartbreaking.