Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The First "Fences" is Here for Oscar Season to Like It

Scene from Fences
As October approaches, it's time to take the Oscar season a lot more seriously. Earlier this week, we saw Martin Scorsese join the race with Silence. Other films like La La Land and Moonlight have been receiving acclaim at various film festivals ahead of their releases. While it is likely that most of the surefire nominees are already known, director Denzel Washington's Fences has released its first teaser to suggest that things aren't as locked up as they appear. Based on an August Wilson play (who also wrote the screenplay), it's a story of a father's struggle with race relations and family in the 1950's. To say the least, it's intense, and sure to get Washington and co-star Viola Davis easy access to the nominations circle this Fall.

In general, I am not familiar with modern live theater. This largely stems more from personal circumstances than lack of interest. However, I took a theater class in college that introduced me to Wilson's play. I watched on YouTube the video from which the teaser largely pulls from. To some extent, Fences feels more exciting because it's part of a rare occurrence for me. Also, it doesn't hurt that Washington and Davis are great actors who carry enough gravitas to make the roles work. One can only presume that what's to follow is an acting tour de force. 

The trailer actually premiered last week in front of Washington's latest release The Magnificent Seven. Co-star Chris Pratt also had a new film trailer with Passengers from The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum, but it was too mind numbing and dull to warrant a write-up. Still, those who worried that trailers don't have the power that they once did clearly didn't realize the genius of this almost promotional-free release. Even the fact that the trailer's release didn't coincide online is itself a noteworthy achievement in 2016. If nothing else, it helps the emotional impact hit stronger, and boy was the trailer full of strong moments.

Check out the trailer below:

Wow. In case you were worried that Washington would stall out on action films, this is going to be for you. Here's the plot according to IMDb:
An African-American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950's and coming to terms with the events of his life.
Fans of the play have been eagerly awaiting the cinematic version of Fences for quite some time. Thankfully, it looks like it delivers just as much on screen. Only time will tell if it gets Washington a third Oscar win, or at very least an Oscar nomination. For now, it definitely qualifies as one of the more intense and exciting teasers to come out of this Oscar season. It doesn't have much beyond clips and Washington's comical yet menacing monologue, but it's enough to work. Hopefully this film is great. It sure looks like it will be.

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