Fences: Film Evaluation

Introduction

The film selected for this topic essay is “Fences,’ directed by Denzel Washington and based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The plot takes place in the 1950s in Pittsburgh, where the characters are part of the Afro American community, rising to more freedom and responsibility in the post-second world war. In parallel, the author raises describes the midlife struggle of Afro-American Man (troy portrayed by Denzel Washington) faced with his frustration and the repercussion on his family. The film was nominated for several awards, which include four Oscar nominations for Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, and Screenplay, where Davis won for her performance. Fences also received a nomination for “Golden Globe” for Best Actor for Washington and Best supporting Actress won by Davis.

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In the film, Fences, the director Denzel Washington uses an encapsulated environment, dialog, and plot brilliantly to draw to the audience the emotions of mid-fifty-year-old man going through his mid-life crisis.

Encapsulated environment

The film directed by Denzel Washington, a man with an extensive theatrical background that has performed numerous times the play on Broadway, filmed his movie in one location as if he was filming the actual play. It is assumed that he has taken this method of filming because he was not willing to violate and disrespect the original spirit given by August Wilson but also threw his acting, bring light to the spirit of Troy. This encapsulated environment, filmed in one location only between the house and the backyard, gives a feeling of claustrophobia to the audience Like it is doors and walls were closing in on the life of someone. This single location is linked very closely to life and the emotions felt by Troy. A man going threw a midlife crisis realizing he has not gone anywhere, has not done anything; being surrounded by ‘fences’ closing on him. This feeling of claustrophobia of a single location is reflecting the life of Troy s and all he has done, what he is. The only way to director felt he could give the audience the best feeling of the emotions felt by all the characters in this movie is by getting in one unique closed and dark environment. Already mentioned in the title ‘Fences,’ the sharp metaphorical image reflecting on the life of Troy closing in on him and his desire to not finish the fence, so he still has a way to escape, air to breath.

Dialogues

Fences is the movie that is known for its long lengthy dialogues that teach about the lessons of life and hardship. It is observed that when an actor is performing, it does demand attention similar to the ways it is done in the movies Fences.

The quotes from the movie bring about the dialogues related to African American man during the year of the 1950s who deals with relations, race, and mid-life crises and the fences that were put between his family members and him. Wilson’s dialogues in the movie were soulful, and a man possesses marvel, profane, and naturalist as it is seen in the scenes of Washington tears and dialogues through the ferocity of joy, like it. This made the audience learn about Troy and his emotions. Much of the Troy dialogues were about life and its purpose.

Such as “Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in” this dialogue portrayed the intense depiction of t life where all the people are in for various reasons. It is observed that first act dialogues are torrential, it means that these dialogues were delivered with metaphors which cascaded the lap of the audience. This lengthy dialogue, however, being active was quite long, as a scene between Troy and Rose lasted for 25 minutes just on dialogues. Thus, it was the acting that drive the plot rather than dialogues, creating a slow pace for the movies that dragged inspire of the powerful performances by increasing the emotions felt by the audience. These long and dramatical monologues have their place in a theatrical environment but lack the fluidity that spectators are looking for in a movie. Nevertheless, the actors were able to translate the emotions and feelings of a man in mid-life crisis to the spectators. This ables the audience to relate and feel his pain.

Plot

After an insulates environment and lengthy dialogues, the structure of the plot allows the spectators to receive the full textures of how Troy’s character was built over time. The audience is taken to fell the hardship of Troy’s childhood with an abusive father that beat him, a hard stay in prison, a being in single parenthood. The audience then gets a grasp of the emotions felt by Troy, the physical and emotional scared he as be been given. Pictured clearly to the audience, we then understand Troy’s very complicated relationship with his family; his biggest fear is to become whom he resents i.e., his father. The violent and emotional scene between him and his son Corry when they fought with a baseball bat is an exact replay of his fight with his father, Corry, on the ground as Troy was looking to his father but looking knowing that that the love and respect was gone. Like Troy, Cory left for another life but only to come back when his father passed away. When Cory arrived back for his father’s funeral, he then realizes after discussing what his half brother and half-sister something that now inside, he vert similar to his father: ‘Papa was like a shadow that followed you everywhere. It weighed on you and sunk into your flesh. It would wrap around you and lay there until you could not tell which one was you anymore. That shadow was digging in your flesh. Trying to crawl in. Trying to live through you’. Troy’s tender relationship with his wife, whom he loves dearly, ‘in his way,’ gets also damaged when he admits his infidelity leading to the birth of a child. Troy’s mid-life crises are then over by him finally fixing the fence, but the damage is done with his son leaving for the army and his wife saying, ‘You have gained a daughter, but you lost your wife.’

Conclusion

It can be observed that though the screenplay of the film was dull and acting was a masterpiece that made this film standing throughout the year, still it is true that scene structure, dialogue and the plot used ended in Washington making a film that does not lack an overall cinematic experience, simple editing, and artistic expression. This was due to the director’s devotion towards depicting original stage play rather than the temptation that might have given a cinematic experience to the play that stands for its own merits. It should be forgotten the importance of them metaphorical ‘happy ending’ where his family see the gates of heaven opening up for Troy. The question we have in our mind, the gates of heaven opened for him because of good deeds or the forgiveness of his family?

07 September 2020

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