Fortunately, Washington has monstrous performances in his pocket, he does not and will not take them for granted.
Denzel Washington, an actor-turned-director, directs his films just as any other actor would, should. And if done properly, just as he does, the film is going to be emotionally fluent in its vocab. And the characters are respected more than the plot and the performance given the priority. The film is crafted around those performances. Almost as if it was created to showcase their talents to the best of their ability. It rattles the Academy members and announces in their ears. A call for attention. And boy what fun it is to see them give what they would like to. Adapting the infamous play for the screen, Washington tries his best to make it not seem like a play.
He makes things mobile, he keeps characters apart as much as he can, he novelizes the idea, he keeps montage sequences to make time flow. These are the scenes where the film comes alive. For these are the scenes where the truth is spoken. Fences is a bit Shakespeare-ean and a bit verbally challenged. In the sense that the characters call out to their fate and claim their destiny as a part of pain and endurance. And it is verbally dysfunctional just as Noah Baumbach’s world.
Which I think is the best for I love these sorts of narration. And as beautifully does it capture the ambiguous subtextual theme, it also gives away the final result at a certain point. And that is the only tiny element of the script that kept bugging me. For the real drama is the thought provoking ideas bouncing in our head as each of these characters are studied and portrayed. Now, what happens is the definite answer orders us to stop letting it wander. The imagination is held back and as mentioned before, the emotions takes charge, the performance steers the film then.