While FENCES loses a few points for taking a shortcut in the portrayal of a disabled character, for the most part it is powerful stuff. A well-mounted stage-to-screen adaptation with the cast of the Broadway revival from a few years back, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are completely spellbinding. There is very little to remove you from the pain of this unflinching, gritty human story. Characters rarely even wander into a different room between scenes and any cinematic embellishments, from striking cinematography, heightened lighting or even noticeable music, is almost non-existent. Perhaps Fences is more compelling on stage with no distraction at all from the performances, the audience weighing up whether to breathe or not between tense exchanges, but if you’ve missed the latest or you don’t see live theatre all that much then you could still do far worse than giving your time to Washington’s film adaptation. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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