Did someone say "Last year's Oscars were too white" ? Now that we're starting to hit awards season I'm starting to hear everyone in the media say this . I don't want to stir up any controversy , and I don't know about you but when I watch a movie I watch simply as a rabid cinephile . Three thousand eight hundred reviews on this site back up my credentials as someone who may actually watch too many movies . Likewise check out my review of SPOTLIGHT which I described as a weak contender for best picture and I was speaking as a hardcore anti-theist . I was disappointed as I was shocked when that movie beat THE REVENENT to the big prize . In other words I tend to leave politics , religion and other baggage at the cinema door and judge a film simply as a piece of stimulus . FENCES however gives me the impression it's going to be over awarded simply because some people think they'll be righting all the wrongs of the world by giving it prizes . Of course it won't affect my life one way or another but even so let's be honest and say this is a fairly tedious movie
Let's have a look at the performances . I've seen such adjectives as "Brilliant" "phenomenal" "great" and every hyperbolic word you can think of . The truth is the performances are over-wrought , over-done and over melodramatic . Most people seem to think acting involves emoting an entire spectrum of mannerisms and gestures . I disagree . Great acting is subtlety where the actor becomes a character and even a small understated expression can convey a lot to an audience . I'm afraid I was constantly taken out of FENCES due to the actors being what can only be described as being "too loud"
FENCES is based on a play written by August Wilson . I'd never heard of either the play or the playwright who wrote it but within a couple of short minutes of the opening sequence I did realise I was watching something based on a source that belongs in another medium . The film itself is very static and talkative and never escapes its source which is probably down to director Denzil Washington . 12 ANGRY MEN is based on a play effectively filmed in one set but the drama involved there has an almost hypnotic effect over the audience . I did notice much of Wilson's dialogue has an existentialist element to it but all this gets drowned out in the performances and double negatives
So a rather tedious film on the whole with the only real positives Marcelo Zarvos's score and Charlotte Bruus Christensen's muted cinematography . In fact the cinematography is the only thing in the movie that comes close to being muted
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