I think that my biggest issue with the film was that I didn't like the protagonist. I thought that Washington's character was very much a jerk. This may be that I am not a part of the target audience. Others may find the character to be relatable or understandable, but I found him to be unnecessarily cruel. I also don't really relate to his struggles, so I don't have that to appreciate either. In addition to that, though, I also thought that the commentary was very direct. To me, I thought it was straightforward to the point where it was almost didactic. It didn't really pose any interesting questions about society, rather opting to make a direct statement. The only ideas that I found interesting and metaphorical occurred in the last twenty minutes of the film. I also had some other issues with the writing. I thought that the film used the N-word too much, and it was distracting to me. I also thought that much of the dialogue took the form of long rants that just rambled on and on. As such, I found myself rather bored throughout the film. Even the cinematography and production value weren't that great, because of the simple, play-like structure of the film.
That being said, I can't deny the quality of the acting. Viola Davis is phenomenal in her role, delivering the emotion required for the role. Stephen McKinley Henderson was also very good in his supporting role, as was Mykelti Williamson. Denzel Washington was good, but I didn't really care for the characterization of his role, so his performance didn't have the emotional impact on me that I expected.
I was really disappointed by "Fences", but I do understand that might just be my opinion. I didn't like the protagonist, and that is an issue for me in a character driven film. Personally, I was horribly bored, and I would have probably rather watched Denzel Washington watching paint dry on a fence for two and a half hours.
Big Tuna's Rating: D+
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: No.