Broadway play adaptions to the big screen can often be awkward, but here the performances are beyond good enough to make up the difference.
One of the problems of plays being on the big screen is it often seems that characters are in their own soliloquies, completely oblivious to the presence of other actors/characters beside them. In other words you know how Tarantino films hyper-realistic dialogues? His screenplays are made for the big screen. This isn't the case here and several times I was very aware that I was watching a play instead of a movie, due to the same set pieces being used over and over, to how silo'd the dialogue between characters seems.
STILL, i can understand why Denzel Washington will give Casey Affleck a run for his money for best actor this year. In the end I prefer the latter, but Denzel is excellent although there are moments where I think I saw a bit of Frank Lucas peeking his disturbed head into this character. Viola Davis steals scenes shes in as well, which is terrific. Both leads go completely all-out in their renditions of these characters and these are some very talented actors.
Heart rating: 5 stars - it will move you in many ways
Brain rating: 4 stars - you are just too aware you're watching a play, maybe this was intentional.