Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
Fruitvale Station made a lot of noise when it came out around summer time last year and is now set for a release in the UK, for some reason I never really looked out for it or into it, until now, and I can now say the praise this film got, and the noise that was made is totally justifiable. It is moving, and horrific in the sense that this is a true story and the events which occurred happened, and that they do happen in an every day manner.
‘Fruitvale Station is the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year’s Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn’t been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4 year old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realises that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant’
The ending to the story is irrelevant in some respect; many before watching would be familiar of such events and the name Oscar Grant, what is relevant is the manner in which this story has been told. It follows Oscar throughout his day, his last day, it allows us to know Oscar, connect and engage. He isn’t as first seen the stereotypical man from a rough part of town, he is caring, he tries. We see his interaction with his mother, something truly heart-warming; we see his interaction with his daughter, something equally as touching. Oscar is trying to turn his life around and make something for himself and everyone that he cares for. As the New Year slowly approaches we have seen the true Oscar, kind and loving, but as he gets the train back home with his girlfriend and a group of friends his past seems to hold him back. A group of police officers, racist and vile, unfairly treat and arrest Oscar and his friends, eventually leading to the unnecessary shooting and the unforgettable murder which was seen from all train members.
The moment is shocking and sad, something very moving and somewhat unexplainable. When watching you feel so much anger, and sorrow, for the whole film we have connected with Oscar and we know what he has to come back to, and look forward to, but in that one moment it is all gone. The writer Ryan Coogler has done amazingly to achieve such emotion, and so have the actors. Michael B. Jordan portrayal of Oscar is brilliant, he was realistic but at the same time moving as we saw his interaction with people throughout the day. The idea that these actors aren’t well-known adds to the realism of this story, or keeps the realism within the true story, and again this creates even more emotion. I usually find portrayals of true events hard to watch as I still believe that it never happened, but this is the complete opposite, and really deserves praise.
Fruitvale Station is an example of a film which thrives of its story, and that is so good because of it. There were flaws, the dialogue at times was hard to handle, and some scenes seemed too on the nose and Hollywood for the true story, whilst nothing equally jumped out as an amazing aspect of craft, but it is hard not to be touched by this film and Oscar’s story. This is a film I am glad I watched, it is excellently portrayed and handled, whilst the rawness adds to keep realism and creates so much emotion. Fruitvale Station is a film with so much emotion. It is not the easiest to watch, but it is powerful and really worthwhile. I strongly believe this film was majorly overlooked and forgotten from last year.