FILM REVIEW: “FRUITVALE STATION”

“Fruitvale Station”

 

Written by: Ryan Coogler (Based on true events)

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Michael B Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer

Story: A look at the true events of the shooting of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station in the early hours of January 1st 2009.

 

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It is difficult to find a negative review of Fruitvale Station. After premiering at Sundance in 2013, the film was the recipient of three awards nominations, and went on to receive nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards, Black Reel Awards, and countless others. A first feature length film by writer and director Ryan Coogler, it soon becomes very clear that Fruitvale Station is an absolute triumph.

Michael B Jordan gives a mature and human performance as Oscar Grant. Through Jordan we are given insight into a man desperate for redemption. He is supported flawlessly by Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer who come together as a family unit to remind all of us of the connection shared between parents and their children. The complexity of these characters is revealed through a terrific screenplay put together by Ryan Coogler

The story and film itself is simple. There isn’t really anything in the way of sub-plots or plot twists, and rightfully so. We are given tiny glimpses of the myriad of problems that are plaguing this 22 year-old father: from his criminal background to infidelities, but these are not the overlying point of the story. What we are given more than anything is this message of hope; a fresh start; and a future.

Audio and cinematography give this film a real “slice of life” feeling as if we are watching a documentary. There is nothing fictional about what we see and nothing is given a ‘Hollywood affect’. The reality of the film really is what drives it home.

Some scenes are uncomfortable, but all builds to the climactic ten minutes at Fruitvale Station which hammers you with complete uncensored truth. Michael B Jordan and Melonie Diaz act perfectly together to charm their way into the hearts and minds of any audience. Seeing the film unfold before you is tense: you may indeed find your whole body is still frozen solid long after the credits roll.

It took a while to recover from the very truth of Fruitvale Station which absolutely punches you in the stomach. While Coogler really does not hesitate to let the audience know what he wants you to feel, sometimes that feeling is inevitable. This is a story of peace and hope, but is only so in showing cruel injustice.

 

Rating: 5/5

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