Fences - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

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Fences - Barney's Incorrect Five Second Reviews

Broadway play adaptions to the big screen can often be awkward, but here the performances are beyond good enough to make up the difference. 

One of the problems of plays being on the big screen is it often seems that characters are in their own soliloquies, completely oblivious to the presence of other actors/characters beside them. In other words you know how Tarantino films hyper-realistic dialogues? His screenplays are made for the big screen. This isn't the case here and several times I was very aware that I was watching a play instead of a movie, due to the same set pieces being used over and over, to how silo'd the dialogue between characters seems. 

STILL, i can understand why Denzel Washington will give Casey Affleck a run for his money for best actor this year. In the end I prefer the latter, but Denzel is excellent although there are moments where I think I saw a bit of Frank Lucas peeking his disturbed head into this character. Viola Davis steals scenes shes in as well, which is terrific. Both leads go completely all-out in their renditions of these characters and these are some very talented actors. 

Heart rating: 5 stars - it will move you in many ways

Brain rating: 4 stars - you are just too aware you're watching a play, maybe this was intentional.

There Will Be Games

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(Updated: May 22, 2018)
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Broadway play adaptions to the big screen can often be awkward, but here the performances are beyond good enough to make up the difference.
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Grudunza's Avatar
Grudunza replied the topic: #241766 03 Jan 2017 23:35
I had the exact same feeling watching this, that it felt more like a play. Which, of course, it was. But the dialogue wasn't quite suited entirely for the film, or the acting was a little bit too "projecting for the stage" or something. It will probably get a Best Adaptation nomination, but I don't think it would deserve that.

Regardless, it's a tour-de-force for Denzel. The story is kind of just him going off on different tangents and stories, so it's not the best in that sense, but it's still super gripping in the hands of him and Viola. She felt a little bit underused, but then that one scene (you know the one) was such an amazing combination of writing and her performance and it totally ripped my heart out. She will get and deserve an Oscar nomination for that scene alone, and maybe win.

The epilogue felt a little odd to me, too, but that one part with the trumpet had me clapping and laughing. Wonderful moment, and many throughout the film, really. Quibbles about the story and stagey dialogue aside, it is great, and I'll probably watch it again sometime.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #241774 04 Jan 2017 08:45
yeah the epilogue with the trumpet was great, but didn't you also in that moment think that in the play, this would just be a spotlight on them on the stage? But that part at least translated SUPER well to film.

Yeah, the pivotal scene between Viola Davis and Denzel Washington almost holds up to the Affleck/Williams scene of Manchester. Best scene in both films.

I wouldn't want to see Fences again. I was thinking about putting it as the 10th best movie of the year but I've already bumped it off the list. It's very good, but ultimately forgettable. I realize that they simply took their broadway performances and put it on the big screen without materially changing the performances. I really liked the moving camera to make it feel less static (like a play), that was clever.
jpat's Avatar
jpat replied the topic: #242054 09 Jan 2017 09:29
I enjoyed it, for the most part, and the performances are strong, but, really, if the story had ended with Rose taking the baby, I would've been a lot happier. The last, what, half hour seems like a paean to the basic decency of difficult men, and I just found Troy too abusive and unlikable for that. I was fine, for the most part, with the bulk of the movie illustrating his character, but I didn't need or want the playwright or the screenwriter to tell me how to feel at the end--especially if it's going to tell me the wrong way to feel. I was also taken out of the movie by how obvious and forced the metaphorical level of the movie was. Troy falls; Rose gets roses; Gabe blows a trumpet; and there's even a literal fence and an actual speech about the figurative function of a fence.
Black Barney's Avatar
Black Barney replied the topic: #242058 09 Jan 2017 09:46
yeah, it''s hard to feel much for Troy after he talks to his boy, "that's strike one!" Or especially after the big scene with Rose.

The baseball metaphors get a little old too.

His best friend (that fat guy) i noticed is Casey Affleck's boss in Manchester by the Sea. It was funny seeing him there not doing the broadway thing (where you have a big forced smile the entire performance)