Although a powerful cinematic adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1950s set family drama, the Denzel Washington directed Fences cannot escape its stage origins.
Wilson’s film is centred around powerhouse performances by Denzel Washington (Training Day, American Gangster) as the troubled and tragic patriarch Troy Maxson and Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt) as his long-suffering wife, Rose.
As with the play, the action takes place in the confined, claustrophobic backyard of the Maxson Pittsburgh family home. As with the play, it’s about dialogue rather than ‘action’. As family members come and go, so marriage, love, poverty and Troy himself are all confronted.
It’s hard-hitting stuff – but at times also a little unwielding. Aggrandising on stage is very different to the less forgiving immediacy of screen.