Tuesday, December 27, 2016


     August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play finally makes it to the screen (with a screenplay by Mr. Wilson before his death) directed by and starring Denzel Washington.

     Mr. Washington recruits Viola Davis and Stephen McKinley Henderson from the Broadway stage version they performed in 2010. The film opens up the story a bit but still feels much like a filmed play with the majority of the action taking place in the backyard and interior of their 1956 Pittsburgh home.

      It is a powerful family drama buoyed by terrific performances by both Mr. Washington and Ms. Davis as Troy and Rose Maxson. The rest of the cast including Mr. Henderson as Troy's best friend Bono, Jovan Adepo as their son Cory, Mykelti Williamson as Troy's mentally challenged brother (from a war injury), and Russell Hornsby as Troy's older son from a previous marriage are all excellent.

      While Mr. Washington has the largest and showiest role with volumes of dialog, he is generous enough to provide the cast with moments of their own, especially Ms. Davis and Mr. Adepo. Troy Maxson is a towering, imposing figure of a man, bitter over crushed dreams, who rules his family with an iron fist. The consequences of his decisions and actions toward his family are the basis of the plot.

          Filled with Mr. Wilson's prize winning dialog and Oscar worthy performances, it is a film not to be missed.

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