Monday, 30 December 2013

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station poster.jpgA True Tragedy

Based on the BART police shooting that took place on New Years Day 2009, the film focuses on the last day of Oscar Grant III before he was fatally shot by a police officer at Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California.


Basing a film on real life events can be a fine line to walk. There are so many pitfalls and directions it could take for the worse, coming off as cold and uncaring or overly sappy and given a 'made for Hollywood' feel. Yet somehow, Ryan Coogler avoids those trappings to deliver one of the years most emotional films.

Michael B Jordan plays Oscar Grant, a man who's trying to lead a good life by stepping away from his troubled past of prison and drug dealing in order to provide for his girlfriend and daughter. Jordan does an astounding job, especially when paired up with the ever-reliable Octavia Spencer, with their scene in prison serving as an emotional highlight.

The officer mistook them for an acapella group

The end of this story is far from unknown, especially since a recording of the incident is played early on, and this sets an underlying sense of dread to play throughout, even during the more lighthearted and heartwarming moments, and ramping up as the film moves towards the end. There are a couple of scenes which may seem like creative liberties where taken in order to add unsubtle foreshadowing, but they underline a lost future for Oscar and those he loves, one full of hopes, promises and dreams.

Ryan Coogler's directorial debut is a heartbreaking and moving piece that proves he and Michael B Jordan are ones to watch. This is utterly deserving of awards recognition.

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