Director Denzel Washington captures the rhythms, the poetry and the velocity of playwright August Wilson's text, and the result is an experience of exuberance and richness.
Washington guides a stunning ensemble to some of the best work of their lives and sets their performances against a physical background that's mostly real, but with just a hint of lyricism.
Washington, a more affable actor, creates a figure that's almost as terrifying and just as destructive, but one with a dangerous charm, someone who dominates every room, with threats, with smiles, with invitations to share in the special aura he creates.
"Fences" doesn't deal in oracles or in the fate of nations, and yet something in the scale of the language and of the characters suggests something grand and timeless at work through these lives.
[...] the sons, as played by Adepo and Hornsby, are studies in hurt, damaged young men, who are overmatched by this roiling cauldron of a father they can never understand.
If you didn't know going in, you wouldn't guess that the lead actor was calling the shots here, such is the sense of ensemble.