HPPUB MOVIE REVIEW of Antwone Fisher


Title:  Antwone Fisher

Release Date:  2002

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 115 minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

Distributor and Production Company:  Fox Searchlight Pictures

Director; Writer: Denzel Washington

Producer: Randa Haines, Todd Black, Denzel Washington

Cast:   Derek Luke, Denzel Washington, Joy Bryant

Technical: Panavision

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This independently financed and large-looking film is Denzel Washington’s debut as a director. What matters to me, though, is the concept: the story of a now accomplished writer Antwone Fisher, how be lifted himself out of poverty and neglect during military (Naval) service, especially with the interaction with Naval psychiatrist Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington). In other words, an unlikely artist, still young, gets to tell his story in a movie. The story attempts to layer itself with a feedback effect upon Jerome, and this could have been better developed.


But some technical things caught my eye. The screenwriting captured the gutter talk of enlisted men on ship in hot bunks well. The racial tensions were quite believable, although I never encountered much racial tension (or homophobia) myself in my own Army service in the late 60s. There is an episode when Antwone, still a “virgin” is encouraged to explore his sexuality (after the usual “faggot” taunts), which he soon affirms as straight in his relationship with Cheryl (Joy Bryant) who will help Antwone gumshoe his original neglecting family and mother. The film moves from a temptation to explore the intimate tensions in military sociology (“don’t ask, don’t tell”) back to family drama. The location scenes around San Diego and Cleveland are striking. I spent my boyhood summers near Cleveland, and I have never seen the Terminal Tower in the movies before.




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