Simply echoing what so many people have astutely pointed out already — this is not a well-rounded stage-to-screen adaptation. By adhering to the palcosenico’s static nature, the film ends up feeling devoid of progression, making it rather difficult for the viewer to connect to the characters that, on the whole, are simply not likeable.
Failing to frame the protagonists with even hints of the era and society they are living in, their turmoil and choices come across as haphazard, pointless and, at times, not very clever at all.
Viola Davis should have been allowed to spread her thespian wings much more for the two instances where she is, finally, allowed to act, are the highest points of this effort. Sadly, Denzel Washington suffocates each and every scene with Troy’s ego to the point of quickly getting tiresome and oh-so-repetitive. Such focus is placed even on the most inane details of Troy’s persona that had I not known he was the one sitting behind the lens, I would have thought the director were actually in love with the actor.
An unnecessarily mishandled, overdrawn disappointment, clearly structured on award watch rather than with the viewer in mind.
Alas. This could have been something.
Sidenote and praise to the owed: Hats off to Mykelti Williamson for his portrayal of Gabriel.