Antwone Fisher (Widescreen) product details page

Antwone Fisher (Widescreen)

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Based on a true story, with a screenplay written by its protagonist, Denzel Washington's directorial debut, Antwone Fisher is a competent tearjerker and self-composed hagiography that's sure to be overpraised for its subtle near-avoidance of racial issues. Talented neophyte Derek Luke stars in the title role, and he's supported by a strong, attractive cast, including director Washington, stolid as he's ever been, as the shrink who helps Fisher come to terms with his past, and the luminous Joy Bryant as the angel of a woman who improbably throws herself at Fisher's feet. Her apparent beatitude is part of the problem with the film. We see the horrific, if overly familiar, privations of Fisher's early life in flashback, but in later life, as the film begins, things seem to fall a bit too quickly and conveniently into place for the young man as he seeks out and battles his demons. The film also risks misinterpretation by accepting the societal racism responsible for many of Fisher's woes as a given. The film doesn't address race directly as an issue in Antwone's life. Of course, more thoughtful viewers will understand that Antwone's oppressors (who are all black) are themselves the products of an internalized racism, but less-thoughtful white viewers may appreciate feeling like they've been let off the hook in this instance because there are no racist, or even unpleasant, white people depicted in the film. Whether or not it's screenwriter Fisher's and/or director Washington's responsibility to explicate the sociopathology of its black oppressors is an interesting question. The fact remains that the film, with its postcard vistas and overblown score, works as drama on only the most rudimentary level. Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide