Reel Freak

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Reel Review – Fruitvale Station (2013)

FRUITVALE

I just finished watching Fruitvale Station; what an incredible picture. I had seen a trailer earlier in the year when it was going to be in theaters, but its time in theaters was so brief that I never got a chance to see it. There has been a lot of buzz involving the film around awards season, so I figured I should watch it as soon as I got the chance.

Fruitvale Station is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young man from Oakland. The movie follows the events of his life on New Years Eve 2008, for the length of the day leading up to his unexpected death. That night, Oscar was dragged out of a Oakland subway train by police officers. One of the officers shot him in the back after beating him to the ground. Oscar tragically died of internal bleeding early the next morning.

Oscar Grant is portrayed by Michael B. Jordan in the film, whose acting is so phenomenally powerful that you’d be able to tell it were a true story even if you weren’t told so prior. Very rarely can you find acting this believable and realistic. Jordan has already received a vast amount of critical acclaim for his performance. You can tell that he is one of the next up and coming stars of Hollywood film. This is also Director Ryan Coogler’s debut film, and he has really outdone himself.

fruitvale-station-main

The realism doesn’t fall just within Jordan’s performance, though. Supporting roles from Melonie Diaz as Oscar’s girlfriend Sophina, and Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother, only further prove my point. The movie’s premise specifically revolves around the encounters Oscar had throughout the day, between phone calls to his sister, having chance meetings with strangers, or spending time with his beloved young daughter. The interactions between characters are so casual and realistic, that at times you have to remember you’re watching a film (as cliché as that may sound).

One of the scenes in the movie that was most memorable to me was when Oscar, Sophina and their daughter get together with his family early on in the evening for his mother’s birthday. The dialogue between the entire family was one of the most relatable and realistic scenes I can remember seeing.

The whole movie flows the same way, with an ending that will leave you speechless of what you just watched. The focus of unnecessary police brutality towards the ending will have you cursing under your breath at the cruelty. While watching, you get a sense that the tragic climax is so inevitable that you start to cringe.

I’m really hoping that Fruitvale Station gets the credit it deserves over awards season. With a lot of other stellar performances this year, Jordan may be overlooked for a Best Actor nomination, but without a doubt deserves the credit.

My Reel Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Josh Sazin on January 3rd, 2014

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