This is the true story of Antwone Fisher (Derek Luke), an angry young sailor, ready to explode at any provocation. When he is sent to the naval shrink, Jerome Davenport (Denzel Washington) for assessment, he locks himself in a metaphoric brig. But Davenport’s patience and big hearted response to Antwone slowly drags out of him the tragic story of his life as an abused orphan. That, and the young woman (Joy Bryant) who falls in love with him, turn his life around, but with great pain and great difficulty, sending him on a journey to find his real roots.

This is a solid directorial effort from Washington without being an exceptional one.

Are the lunatics taking over the asylum? More and more stars these days are taking on the role of director, like George Clooney and Denzel Washington. Washington\'s debut as director is the film Antwone Fisher, inspired by the life of a young African American. Fisher, Derek Luke, is a navy man who has a problem with anger management. After fighting over a perceived racial slur he\'s demoted and sent to a Navy psychiatrist Jerome Davenport, Denzel Washington. At first he\'s stubbornly reluctant to share anything with Davenport but he finally begins to tell the doctor about his past life. He had been born in prison in Cleveland two months after his father had been killed by a girlfriend. On her release his mother hadn\'t bothered to get him so he had been fostered with the Tates. Mrs. Tate, Novella Nelson, had a number of charges and she\'d treated them dreadfully, calling them by racial epithets and beating them horribly on occasions. Gradually the relationship between Antwone and Davenport becomes one of trust.

Denzel Washington has opted for a rather classic style of filmmaking, there\'s nothing flashy or dangerous in Antwone Fisher. In many ways it\'s a very safe film. Washington\'s strength is his ability to cast excellently and to elicit very believable performances from his cast. The standout is Derek Luke as Antwone, this debut big screen performance is very impressive. The film was written by the real Antwone Fisher and it\'s inspired by his life, Hollywood has intervened so that sentimentality is to the fore - especially in the bracketing of two dinner scenes in the film and in the less than convincing subplot concerning Davenport\'s troubled relationship with his wife. This is a solid directorial effort from Washington without being an exceptional one.