The Fence is a retro comedy-drama set in and around the streets of Bristol in the 1980’s.
Steven Knight (David Perkins) gets a new motorbike which is promptly stolen from outside his house. He and his ragtag bunch of reprobate friends set off to recover it and track down the elusive ‘fence’ who was responsible.
The plot is simple and formulaic, an expanded version of Stone’s original 2018 short of the same name and premise. Its characters are an entertaining collection of cliches, making up for what they lack in depth with charisma and winning charm.
The film is lightweight in tone, shot with an affectionate, rose-tinted image of 80’s culture which is notably reflected in the costumes and soundtrack. It will no doubt appeal to viewers who feel a nostalgia for the period and who maybe grew up during that time.
It does touch upon heavier issues, conventionally prevalent in the community, such as drug abuse, but these are not the focus and are glossed over so as not to dampen the mood. They exist more as side notes, something to fill the otherwise thin narrative.
Indeed, the criminality, around which the story itself revolves, is waggish and jocular. A freewheeling caper of jolly japes and high jinx, safe in its hilarity and comedic tone.
The Fence is feel good fun. An easy watch with some genuinely funny moments, even though you can see a lot of the jokes coming from a mile off. Still, it’s a pleasant way to pass the time and it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
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