UK Release: June 6th 2014
‘FRUITVALE STATION’ is a film based on a true story of a real life shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police office which was captured on mobile phones by commuters of a train nearby, this film shows you the events leading up to the event and what went on afterwards. With Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer (also producer), Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray this is an assembled cast which was brought together by the director of Ryan Coogler, producer Forest Whittaker and cinematographer Rachel Morrison.
The impressive feat of ‘Fruitvale Station’ is acting chops of Michael B. Jordan an immensely talented young lead actor. Making Oscar Grant a believable human being with his natural charisma and excellent chemistry with his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), and his daughter Tatiana (Arianna Neal). I do like how the film doesn’t sugar coat the events leading up to this, putting a more balanced approach to the behaviour Oscar, and showing maybe he didn’t help in the situation with the volatile officers (Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray). You get to see his jail time past and his volatile temper but also his interaction with his friends and family. Jordan does allow you to feel that he is a decent man fighting to make a little headway, and this approach helps in the almost heart-rending ending. The main point of the film though is (from what I can take from it) a point about victim’s rights, as other points raised in this seem a little underdeveloped (the idea that the black community are trying to get by in unforgiving circumstances). It is beautifully shot, there is a incredible sense of community made up here, particularly in the black dominated areas, and Cooglar does wisely use the idea of showing the actual footage of the event in the opening moments of the film leaving a good sense of inevitable heart-breaking is coming.
This is a very interesting film though, and people compare (and rightly so), Jordan to a young Denzel Washington, a actor who can emit emotion with very little needing to be said. He really is the reason to watch this film, and while it came out this year over here, you do feel that it missing the Award season last year is criminal on Jordan’s part. Very recommendable indeed.