|Antwone Fisher (2002)
Starring: Derek Luke, Denzel Washington, Joy Bryant
Director: Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington makes his directorial debut with "Antwone Fisher" and shows why he will remain a force in Hollywood for years to come. Denzel has always cared about his craft, and here he has chosen a moving drama of a troubled young man who is forced to confront his violent behavior and traumatic youth. The film is receiving Oscar buzz because of the well-told story and the excellent performances of the young, unknown cast.
The story is inspired by the real life experiences of Antwone Fisher, who also wrote the script. The movie begins with Antwone in the Navy, where he keeps getting into trouble because he can't control his anger. After another fight he is sent to Jerome Davenport, the Navy shrink played by Denzel. Davenport treats Antwone by making him slowly confront his past.
The story here is shocking at times, but in today's Jerry Springer infected world, nothing truly "shocks" us any more. Therefore the film needs to rely on how the story is told and the quality of the performances to be successful, and this is where "Antwone Fisher" truly shines. The film introduces Derek Luke as Antwone in one of the most impressive acting debuts in a long time. He seems to capture all the hurt, anger and shame felt by Antwone, but you never feel that he is "acting." The audience can't help but root for this character. The beautiful Joy Bryant also delivers an excellent, understated performance as Antwone's love interest.
"Antwone Fisher" is the story of one man's pain and ultimate triumph. Denzel Washington and his cast deserve credit for telling the story well. It's one of the best films I've seen this year.