The tragic fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station is brought dramatically to life in Ryan Coogler’s moving drama charting his final day.
At the very beginning of the film, we open with the actual and notorious mobile phone footage of the unarmed Grant lying face down prior to the shooting which led to charges of murder, with the officer involved claiming that he mistook his handgun for a Taser. The film then goes back in time to recreate the final day of Oscar’s life, and as we follow him throughout the film, there is, inevitably, a foreboding sense of impending catastrophe, which culminates in a harrowing final act that is both chilling and heartbreaking. As a result, the film’s emotional power will stay with you long after the film has finished.
Emerging screen actor Michael B Jordan gives a real star-making performance, and is absolutely engaging and sympathetic as the likable young man with a strong head and good heart, cruelly cut down in his prime. Also, both Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer offer real and raw performances as the two emotional anchors in Oscar’s life.
Grant’s death was so shocking and so powerful, his story needed no dressing up to be affecting, and perhaps that’s why Ryan Coogler’s earnest drama remains incredibly solid, but stylistically unremarkable. While the film grabs you on a performance and story level, the film recounts the tragic events in strangely familiar fashion, and as a result, the filmmaking techniques are not entirely 100% original and everything is told completely straight.
Overall, Fruitvale Station is a fairly straightforward, yet stylistically unexceptional, film about an extraordinary and genuinely shocking story, raised high by emotionally powerful performances, particularly from Michael B Jordan. It is a film that will stay with you long after you’ve seen it, and you’d have to be incredibly hard-hearted not to feel engaged and moved by the movie, particularly because you know, from the outset, exactly how the story ends.
Written by Ryan Pollard
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Written by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
Released: 2013 / Genre: Drama / Country: USA / IMDB