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Antwone Fisher

Antwone Fisher

In his first directorial assignment, Denzel Washington does a black sailor proud with Antwone Fisher with Fisher providing the script from his autobiography called "Finding Fish."  Newcomer Derik Luke in the title role is nearly as impressive as Washington is behind the camera.  Anger management is a subject that is often seen in many pictures and Washington and Luke deal with it in ways that may not always be true to life, but the course and emotions that come with it offer hope to anyone in a similar unsettling state.

Luke's Fisher is a troubled, despairing soul who shows it in his pugilistic activities and a volcanic demeanor.  Antwone minds being remanded to a Navy psychiatrist, Jerome Davenport, played by Washington with his usual sympathetic commanding presence, and doesn't feel the need to open up to the doctor.

But, in time, his difficult childhood is heard by Davenport with a mother raising Antwone for awhile after being incarcerated.  Even worse, there was physical abuse and a hard edged Mrs. Tate, Antwone's foster mother, acted forcefully by Novella Nelson.

Washington makes Fisher's life absorbing through the sessions that often include recollective scenes and the importance to be the kind-hearted person he really is.  A navy officer's daughter, Cheryl, sensitively done by Joy Bryant, is drawn to the socially aloof young man.

The screen writing of Fisher downplays what it takes to overcome such wrenching conditions.  Maybe the narrative isn't as well developed as therapy has an effect on Davenport who isn't in marital bliss with his wife, Berta (Salli Richardson).  The characters of Antwone's birth mother (Viola Davis) and estranged aunt (Vernee Watson Johnson) are too much in the background as Antwone Fisher struggles at times with its idealized, episodic nature from its subjective source.  Yet, the storytelling packs an emotional punch, memorable in its uplifting conclusion as Washington and Luke relate the therapeutic quality necessary to fight such a daunting, haunting fight.

Antwone Fisher

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