After getting some of the fun out his system by riding a horse in another forgettable action flick, Denzel Washington can now be seen in fine form in this first trailer for Fences. Washington directs this August Wilson Pulitzer Prize-winning play-turned-film, which has been adapted for the screen by Wilson as well. It is frankly what I want to see from Washington, as he's remained an effective screen presence, but could really use a film like this to show us how he can challenge himself as an actor and filmmaker.
While the trailer merely focuses on a key monologue delivered by Washington's character to his son, we get a lot of hints at what this movie is playing at. For those less familiar with the play, the story centers on a former baseball-turned trash collector player who creates a level of unease with his son for a variety of reasons. This family is struggling and lots of drama will unfold, including arguments with Washington's character's wife, played by Viola Davis.
What we have is a movie that will be filled with fine actors giving real, grounded performances. Set in the 1950s, there is a lot to anticipate when it comes to watching a family like this build tension out of relationships and arguments. Whether or not that leads to lots of nominations and awards, it will be great to see how this all unfolds on screen.
With Washington behind the camera as well, it will be interesting to see if he can do an effective job at not having the film feel too stagy. That has been my problem with many big screen adaptations of plays. That notion doesn't make them bad, as some can use that to its advantage (Glengarry Glenn Ross comes to mind), but it can be distracting at times. With a period setting and basically a city the film can cover, regardless of the small-ish budget, there is a good chance Fences can feel big enough and independent from the play. We'll just have to wait and see.
Fences opens in theaters December 25.