Washington, Joy Bryant
Release Date: 5.20.03
the true life experiences of its title character, Antwone
Fisher tells the compelling story of a troubled sailor
(Luke) who is ordered to see a naval psychiatrist (Washington)
about his volatile temper. Little does he know that his first
step into the doctor's office will lead him on a remarkable
emotional journey to confront his painful past – and connect
with the family the never knew.
is inspirational and emotional, but something is missing
somewhere in-between. I guess the most logical factor is
characterization. Antwone Fisher is a real person and since he
also wrote the script we know who he is and where he comes from.
However, supporting characters like Washington’s Davenport or
Joy Bryant’s Cheryl, Fisher’s love interest who apparently is
not based on an actual person, but perhaps a combination of more
than a few people, seem underwritten. Despite such flaws, the
performances are very good. Washington adds his signature
performance to the film he also directed. In one or two
instances, however, his presence seemed too imposed. Bryant is
gorgeous, very energetic and develops immediate chemistry with
Derek Luke. Luke is a real find here as his performance goes
different places and elicits realistic emotional responses;
anger, sadness, love, excitement, spirit, etc.
Washington’s debut as a director is very good and the material
serves him well. The material is heartfelt and important.
Despite some indications of added dramatic effect, the script
handles flashbacks carefully and introduces them in important
times of the story. The film flows a little too slow, especially
in its second act. It almost appears like the script’s structure
jumps the second act. Surely, the script is not conventional in
nature considering Antwone Fisher’s life story. The third act is
concerned with Antwone finding his birth mother and family, the
film’s rewarding scenes coming together here quite nicely,
including a welcome and dinner scene with family
members—however, the question might be asked, "how did everyone
get there so quick?" The answer might be "dramatic effect." Some
areas of the script include sentimental values, but the
inspirational nature of the story deflects most of those
comments. All in all, Antwone Fisher is a great showcase
of character (Antwone), talent and acting, despite some minor
Century Fox presents Antwone Fisher in 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen. The transfer looks very generous and bright. The
color palette are vibrant and fleshed out nicely. Color detail
is sharp, but not always consistent. I noticed some dirt on the
print in a few occasions, but nothing that affects the viewing
experience. Dark tones are handled fine, but they hardly exist
since most of Antwone Fisher takes place in daylight.
Black level is also fine, but not excessive. Even though the
film carries a few minor problems, the video presentation is
is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and generally sounds
very good. Mychael Danna’s score is very effective, but at times
goes under the radar. Dialog is crisp and clear. Sound design
lacks material and punch. Much of the dialog is concentrated on
the front speakers. Rear speakers come to life and create
surround usage, but it is not consistent. Nevertheless, Antwone
Fisher offers a nice audio presentation. You can also select to
view the film in French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby
Denzel Washington and Producer Todd Black – Their comments are
not limited to screen-specific issues, including a discussion
about the cooperativeness of the Navy, the casting and story of
Antwone Fisher, defining a few making terms, reflecting on the
production, etc. Washington and Black keep this track fresh,
informative and, above all, conversational throughout. If you
like the film, this commentary is definitely for you.
Meeting Antwone Fisher Featurette (~14 mins) – The title
makes this interview-driven featurette pretty self-explanatory.
Mr. Fisher tells his story and reflects on a few aspects of the
film and his life while. You’ll find some additional information
about him here, but not much more than that. Denzel Washington,
Todd Black and a few others provide snippets of information in
interviews conducted on the set or at the film’s press junket.
The Making of Antwone Fisher Featurette (~22 mins) –
Using the same interviews, only different snippets and sections,
this featurette provides countless interviews, now including
Derek Luke and Joy Bryant, and some behind-the-scenes footage.
The material is generally the same here as in the featurette
above, but I guess distinctions are apparent. Not too much value
here unless you absolutely loved the film or care to listen to
Hollywood and the Navy Featurette (~5 mins) – Again, the
material seems to be the same, but the focus here is on the Navy
and its cooperation with the production of Antwone Fisher.
The start date was scheduled for September 10, 2001, but the
Navy was fully operational and cooperative even after 9/11. We
get interviews here as well.
I like the
idea of the interviews broken down into three separate
featurettes, but it is too obvious and the interviews did not
offer enough material to sustain the combined running time of 41
minutes. A few deleted scenes, which I’m sure exist, would be a
nice addition to this release.
trailers for In America, Master and Commander,
Le Divorce and Drumline. Antwone Fisher’s
theatrical trailer is missing, however. There are no DVD-ROM
features on this disc. You can select to view the film with
optional English and Spanish subtitles. The DVD’s menus are not
animated. The 120-minute feature is organized into thirty-two
didn’t perform as well at the box office, but the home video
forum should give enough people the chance to see a good and
inspirational film as it seems they come along only at certain
times of the year. The DVD offers some good video and audio
quality and the special features are partially adhering.
Antwone Fisher comes recommended.
(not an average)