By Hipolito Navarrete, Managing Editor/Publisher
“Fences,” is exactly the type of project that would remind us what happens when the right actors are asked to inhabit their right characters. Every one of the folks on the screen is superb, where there may feel a lack of talent, it would be because the talent is immense and ever present in the film. Denzel Washington created a world that is horrifying, sad and gritty. Reading the script before hand, I felt overwhelmed by an unsympathetic, ruthless, almost evil Troy. Denzel Washington humanizes him, not to an extent that he becomes likeable, but to a point that he becomes human. A scared man who terrorizes his family because of his fear of not being heard, so he always talks, always claims and never shares. Viola Davis, is a match to Washington’s strength. She portrays his wife, a strong woman that suffers and accepts his suffering and aggressions as part of her choice to be with the man that chooses her.
“Fences” focuses on the black experience in Pittsburgh in the 1950’s, and it reaches out past its color and culture, this fantastic story reminds us that people of color also have Aristotelian stories that showcase the complexity of every day people trapped in a tragic tale. There is also a condemnation of a culture that does not allow those that do not like them to flourish, to pursue happiness, as was promised. The past hunts Troy, his dream denied, Troy was not able to play on the major leagues because he appeared “too early” as a talented baseball player as a black man, this poignant observation is the constant reminder that unless those in power are ready, justice is not going to be done. People of color must look for those extraordinary individuals who, in spite of their circumstances, did super extraordinary, unexpected and undervalued feats. The stories of most heroes of people of color are recognized by their death, not by their deeds. Their deeds are paired with stories of their frailties and failings, and are emphasized by those that want to turn those heroic lives into a warning and drive the mourning to instill fear on those that would other wise accomplish on par with anyone else. “Fences” is a warning of what the incoming administration wants to forget, ignore and may be make the norm again. This film must be seen, it’s a needed moment of clarity.