Skip to content

Fruitvale Station: Review by Ron Wells

July 29, 2013


movie review by Ron Wells

Fruitvale Station is based on the true story of the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, a 22 year old African American man who had previously had his trouble with the law, but was attempting to turn his life around.Fruitvale Station poster
The film is the first full length feature by director Ryan Coogler, who was a graduate film student at USC when the shooting of Grant occurred on New Year’s night in 2009 at the BART Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California.
The film opens with actual video footage of the confrontation between BART Police officers and Grant and his friends after a fight had occurred on the BART train. The video shows a lot of mayhem and then  ends with a popping sound.
From there, Coogler takes the audience back to earlier in the day and we begin to get a sense of who Oscar Grant was as a person. As depicted here, he was certainly no saint,  but there was also a kind and loving side to him as seen in how he cared about and loved his mom, siblings, his child, and even strangers, and as shown in how he was attempting to make right all of the wrongs he had done previously. Coogler paints a complex picture of a young 22 year old man still trying to find his way in the world. There are certainly echoes here of Boyz in the Hood.
This is a star making performance for Michael B. Jordan (The Wire; Friday Night Lights) as he lets the audience see every nuance of Oscar’s personality, both good and bad.
Ultimately, we care about Oscar because Jordan makes us care.

This is dynamic acting as good as it gets. Likewise, Octavia Spencer (The Help) is quietly powerful as Oscar’s mom, Wanda, especially in a scene in which she visits him in prison. The rest of the cast is excellent, including Melonie Diaz as Oscar’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, Tatiana.

But when all is said and done, this is Jordan’s movie. There is never a moment when we don’t feel we’re watching the real Oscar, or Osc as his friends call him. At one point he says, “I’m tired,” and we see all too clearly how the weight of the world is bearing down on him.
For a first feature film, Coogler has captured the last hours of Oscar’s life remarkably well, with only a few scenes (such as Oscar’s encounter with a stray dog) seemingly forced. And yet, there are real events that could never have been made up. For example, earlier in day the family celebrates Oscar’s mom’s birthday. And before going out to celebrate on New Years Eve, Wanda tells Oscar that perhaps he should take the BART train that night, just in case he or his friends decided to drink and would not be safe driving his car. The reality of these fateful events is the stuff of a Greek tragedy. 
The film grabs you from the first scene and quietly takes you along for a ride that ends in tragedy for Oscar and everyone else concerned. The undertones of the race problem in this country are never ignored, but to Coogler’s credit, he never hits you over the head with it. It just appears all too real. Another young black man was killed–by police. In a way that should have never happened.
This film is the best film of 2013 so far, but more importantly, it will leave you thinking about everything you have just seen. 
Sometimes in life, events happen that just seem destined. The making of this film, with all that it had to go through to get made by a first time director, and then being released when it was, just seems like it was meant to be.
Go see it for yourselves.
And then, perhaps, you’ll be like many in the audience I saw it with, and there will be tears. Not just for Oscar, but for all of us who live in a country where tragedies like this happen more often than we’d like to admit and which have no end in sight.
Release Date: 26 July 2013
Genre: Drama
Cast: Kevin Durand, Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer
Directors: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2013 10:53 pm

    Good review Ron. It doesn’t go as deep as I would have liked, but it still gets the conversation going.

  2. July 30, 2013 8:27 am

    Yes, true, but his intent is to review and I think to encourage people to go see it, which I hope will happen. Once a critical mass of people have seen it, these conversations will flow. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

foodwineclick

When food and wine click!

The Flavor of Grace

Helene Kremer's The Flavor of Grace

Hot Grieving MILF

I Believe in Magic

The Swirling Dervish

Wine Stories, Food Pairings, and Life Adventures

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Living La Vida Vino!

Dracaena Wines

Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories

L'occasion

a reason for wine

OkieWineGirl

A Wine Drinker Rambling about Wine

Outlaw Soaps: Exciting soaps for adventurous people.

Exciting soaps for adventurous people

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

Quartz

Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

THE GRAPE BELT

DRINKING, THINKING, COOKING, EATING, READING, WRITING, TRAVELING, TALKING, AND MORE DRINKING ~ THE ESSENTIALS OF THE WINE LIFE ~

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

poor mexican gone

Yesterday's stories shed light on the way forward

ROCKIN RED BLOG

A Song in Every Glass

cindyrosstraveler

Has a Hard Time Staying Home

trailtraveler

Get your copy of Mile 445 today at Amazon.com!

www.KamalaThompson.com

"Where Business Meets Humanity"

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

From Insults To Respect

A Guide To Anger And Conflict Resolution

WES CHYRCHEL

Business Coach · Early Stage Advisor

Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

Where our opinions, Burner culture, and Burning Man come together

Traveling Wine Chick

Purveyor and Curator of Travel and Wine Experiences

L'esprit de Vin

A wine blog with food for thought...

The Wine Wankers

G’day, you’re at the best wine blog ever! We're all about wine; without the wankery.

Wine Verbiage

verbiage about wine & life

Small Epiphanies

A BLOG BY G.P. WAYNE

Paul reflects therapeutically

Thoughts about writing about thinking

Myth Girl

"Follow Your Bliss."

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

Winehiker Witiculture

Hike. Wine. Repeat! An exploration of life's vinoambulocentricities.

Gabe Feathers McGee

poetry, stories, puffnstuff

New Earth Heartbeat

Breathing with the Heart of the Earth

DEAR HUMAN

These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.

SAHMmelier

Stay at home mom, lover of wine

Talk-A-Vino

Wine, food and life

The Mind's Eye Photo Workshops

Don't just take photos - Make them.

Whole Hog Marvels

Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow'd

%d bloggers like this: