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Plot: The purportedly true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. Runtime: 85 mins Release Date: 31 Dec 2012
I knew nothing about the true story behind this film before I saw it but Ryan Coogler did an impressive job of telling this controversial story. Coogler takes us to the last day in 2008, and introduces us to Oscar Grant's life. A young, troubled father that is trying to do the right thing by his family. This was his debut at Sundance and he didn't disappoint. The audience laughed when the actors laughed and shed tears when the actors shed tears...it was a very moving film. By the end of the film I felt as though I knew these people personally. The whole cast did an excellent job! <more>
I'm looking forward to hearing more about Ryan Coogler in the future.
Ryan Coogler's impeccable writing and directing are phenomenal, and in the film's final scenes, tears are guaranteed. (by PointMan528491)
In the wake of the many tragic shootings in the U.S., things have looked pretty bleak for Americans. Haunted by the Newtown school shooting, the Aurora theater shooting, as well as countless local and minor shootings, American lives have been turned upside-down on numerous occasions. Somehow, one recent shooting almost seems to have been buried by the others. That shooting is the tragic death of Oakland citizen Oscar Grant on New Year's Eve, 2008. Five years later, first time director Ryan Coogler brings this story back to the public eye with Fruitvale Station, a heart-wrenching drama <more>
that is sure to leave you misty-eyed.Fruitvale Station ultimately opens with its ending. The tragedy unfolds with real footage recorded by witnesses on their cell phones during the event. Oscar and some of his friends are brutalized by Bay Area Rapid Transit police for getting into a fight on the subway. Oscar, supposedly resisting arrest, is pinned to the ground by an officer. He pulls what he believes is his taser, and pulls the trigger. A loud bang rings as the screen cuts to black.The film then rewinds, and proceeds to cover the 24 hours leading to the incident at Fruitvale station, the last 24 hours of Oscar Grant's life. As Oscar's remaining hours slowly dwindle down, the film delves into the background and life of Oscar, who lives with his girlfriend Sophina and their young daughter Tatiana. Oscar's relationship with his mother, his history with marijuana, and his family life is studied before the heart-wrenching incident unfolds on the fateful New Year's Eve.Fruitvale Station retells the depressing true story with exhilarating emotion and tear-jerking drama. What's great about Fruitvale Station is the way that the script doesn't go out of its way to make Oscar a hero or an overly sympathetic protagonist. The film shows Oscar for what he was: a troubled young man who wanted to become a better one, but was held back by his past. The writing manages to accurately tell the story, but also adds in some important elements that never happened, foreshadowing the dramatic end.The film's real strength is the passionate portrayal of Oscar Grant by up-and-coming actor Michael B. Jordan. In his first leading role, Jordan hits it out of the park, portraying every aspect of Oscar's personality with phenomenal passion. He's charming and relatable, but also explosive when the situation calls for it. In what should've been an Oscar nominated role no joke intended , Jordan's performance cannot be summed up in words. The supporting cast is also strong, notably Melonie Diaz as Sophina and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer as Oscar's mother, both of whom are memorable and emotionally stunning in their roles.For a movie with a first time director, Fruitvale Station is a triumph. Ryan Coogler's impeccable writing and directing are phenomenal, and in the film's final scenes, tears are guaranteed. Michael B. Jordan puts up a performance that is sure to make him a star, while Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer back up the film extremely well. With all these elements combined together in one emotionally hard-hitting package, they make Fruitvale Station one of the best movies of the year.
A day in the life of Oscar, a troubled youth who is being torn in two different directions, his past and his wishes to change his life. The question is whether he will be able to succeed, and what forces within his immediate surroundings will provoke those changes. Is life fate? or Is it your own choices? Throughout the span of most of a day, we follow him around, as he interacts with the people closest to him. From the beginning we see he has some friction with his girlfriend, but he keeps promising and trying to show her this might be the time he comes through. He runs through his day <more>
trying to do things to please his mother and his loved ones. We can there is genuine affection, and though there are lies along the way, they are designed to mitigate any pain he might inflict on people.He meets strangers and shows his generous nature. Most of the time, he seems to be trying really hard to overcome whatever problems he had before. There are a couple of scenes and hints that hint that he has issues controlling his temper and with discipline. At one point, his mother gives him an ultimatum, and from what we see later on in the film, it seemed to produce a positive result, but not enough to a complete turnaround.Eventually, we end up at the location that gives the film its name, and it's a complete circular narrative from the opening shots to the last twenty minutes of the film. "Fruitvale Station" is a tight and packed story, with many aspects that we would like to explore to understand more of what has happened to Oscar. The strokes are broad and powerful, and the tension just mounts to the point we can't really trust a happy and relaxed celebration. People have prejudices, and as part of the audience, you sometimes are misled by them. In the end, the results are catastrophic, and the impact is intense.There are remarkable turns here by everyone involved, especially Spencer, who is wonderful at portraying the loving and stern mother, and in particular, Jordan gives a difficult performance by trying to make the character as complete as possible, and most importantly, making us care for him. This is a great movie.
Passionate and sympathetic portrayal of a complex and struggling young man (by jolgacr)
This film depicts story of a deeply flawed young man struggling to turn his life around. The movie reveals the generous good-hearted nature of Oscar, on whose life the story is based. The awards the film has won are well deserved, as the film-maker succeeds in presenting an unsparing look at Oscar's many failings even as he humanizes this young man whose life is largely unknown to the American public. In a quite amazing fashion, all of this is done through the lens of a single day in Oscar's life, with only the aid of one brief flash-back.Despite his efforts and his kindness, Oscar is <more>
failing to transcend his past as much as he is succeeding in doing so. His struggle to change is fueled by his relationships with three women central to his life, and we are on the edge of our seats watching his relationships play out with them, knowing before the movie begins how it will end. It is a credit to the film-maker that he is able both to maintain that tension and at the same time to draw us into Oscar's world so effectively. This craftsmanship only underlines the tragedy of the final outcome more starkly.It is sad that the review that wins pride of place on this website ignores Oscar and focuses on Officer Mehserle, who appears only briefly in the movie. The film does not demonize Officer Mehserle, and one might be tempted to do, but rather presents him as a blank slate. Surely, as those who witnessed the events appeared to do, and as the jury who found him guilty corroborated, we might well assume that he committed a crime. However, his motives are not suggested in the movie, his youth is clearly depicted, and his inexperience implied. Surely any professional, a doctor for example, who makes a mistake of motor memory under pressure and thus takes the life of another human being, should be held accountable for her actions to the full extent of the law.
Tragic, sympathetic and simple. Fruitvale Station takes us inside the world of the late Oscar Grant (by trublu215)
Based on the true story of one of the most heart wrenching instances of police brutality in American history, Fruitvale Station humanizes Oscar Grant, a victim of senseless police violence and racial profiling. This film does not paint him as a saint nor does it paint him as a crook, it shows him as a human being with many flaws. Michael B. Jordan gives an electrifying performance as Oscar Grant. He doesn't miss a single step and delivers a performance that has solidified him as a force to be reckoned with on screen. The film, as a whole, works but not for storytelling. This is a film <more>
that has great performances and that keeps it above average on many levels. If there was anyone else playing these roles, especially Jordan, I feel as if the film wouldn't pack as much of a punch. Ryan Coogler directs the hell out of his actors and does a fantastic job keeping pace. Running at just below an hour and a half, the film moves. It doesn't drag, it doesn't lack, it is a beautiful and moving portrayal of a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the decisions that he made to put him at Fruitvale Station on that fateful night.Overall, this is a film with powerhouse performances that needs to be seen. The 2013 awards season definitely has a contender in Fruitvale Station along with a soon-to-be Oscar nominated Michael B. Jordan.
Do you call 911 when the killer is a cop? (by Red-125)
SPOILER: Fruitvale Station 2013 was written and directed by Ryan Coogler. Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar Grant III, an African-American man who was shot to death in the Fruitvale BART station on January 1st, 2009. The man who killed him was a police officer. The killer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served about two years in jail.The film follows Grant through his last day of life--December 31st, 2008. We watch as Grant interacts with his common-law wife, their young daughter, friends, relatives and strangers. Grant comes across as a basically decent man--flawed, undependable, <more>
but clearly in love with his family, his partner. and their little girl. It's hard to enjoy this film, because it's based on a truly tragic event, and we know how the story will end from the beginning of the movie. Still, Fruitvale Station is definitely worth seeing, because it reminds us that everyone's life is always at risk, but that the risks for young, African-American men are higher.The movie will work well on DVD. It's definitely worth seeking out and seeing.
Fruitvale Station- A Solid Debut Feature Slightly Debilitated by an Idealized Narrative but Effective in Minimalist Technical Choices and Careful Pacing (by generationfilm)
Seldom do we remember in our desensitized 24-hour news society that behind every headline, every momentary tragedy, and every affected victim there's always a personable human story that reveals the true layers of heartbreak once exposed for all to grasp, understand, and mourn. One example in particular of modern headline tragedy was the senseless,unwarranted shooting of 22-year old Oscar Grant by police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that reinvigorated a debate on prejudice and a call for civil rights that unfortunately lead to some violent protests in the aftermath. This heated <more>
headline event is the subject of 26-year old filmmaker Ryan Coogler's debut feature entitled Fruitvale Station that is a relatively solid first film depicting the importance of family, the rarity of second chances, and the difficulty of responsibility leading up the inevitable heartbreaking event that is heavily dependent on performances rather than strong narrative substance. What's meant by the word solid is that this isn't an immaculate film without flaws and deserving of infinite praise because it contains a great deal of manipulative narrative tricks, an overly positive dramatization of its protagonist, and absolutely zero new insight on the societal issues involved or a genuine message to take away beyond its sad and rather plain recreation of actual events. Instead of delving deep into the obvious flaws of Oscar Grant, ranging from an ill temper, relationship cheating, and drug peddling, Coogler sets out to overly forgive these foibles making Grant a martyr instead of a palpable human being representing how no one deserves his tragic fate no matter their past, present, or potential future. However, Fruitvale Station does demonstrate that strong acting performances coupled with a careful execution of technical choices from a new energetic developing talent in Ryan Coogler can make an effective and emotional film. Most of the positives within the film are located in the light dramatic touch of the hand-held camera work, the intimate settings, and the strong acting, especially a star turning performance from Michael B. Jordan who carries the tragic weight of the film on his shoulders. Though Coogler's debut feature might possess an idealized portrayal of his film's subject Oscar Grant as well as some blanketed assumptions on justice there is a great deal of admirable qualities that makes it a dramatically riveting and socially tragic depiction of true events.Read more: http://wp.me/py8op-zQ; More reviews: Generationfilm.net
An independent film written and directed with stunning effectiveness by newcomer Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station is based on a true story, and even though its story of an unarmed black male who is shot on New Year's Day, is pulled from national headlines, the film is a character study of the choices in life and how a cruel twist of fate intervenes. It lingers in the heart and mind long after the end, and as such is one of the best films of the year.We witness video footage of police rounding up black youths at a transit train station, and while the suspects are on the ground and <more>
restrained, a gun goes off striking one of them in full view of witnesses. What follows is a flashback account of the final day of Oscar Grant's life and the events leading up to New Year's Day 2009. Amid the backdrop of the Oakland Bay area, Oscar Michael B. Jordan in a breakout performance is a young black man whose background is a mix of prison, drug dealing, and failed jobs amid a serious relationship with his girlfriend, Sophina Melonie Diaz , and their little daughter. He loves his family especially his mother Octavia Spencer is rock solid and vows to make a better life for them. It is New Year's Eve, and he helps to prepare his mother's birthday celebration. Just as he is on the brink of a new start, fate intervenes at a transit station and a deadly encounter with police.Oscar is a man who has a conscience and a sense of responsibility. On the one hand he is portrayed as a devoted father, a passionate lover to his girlfriend, and loving son to his mom, and yet he lies to his loved ones and is in constant turmoil. It is affecting to see that he genuinely wants to leave behind his broken life and get a second chance. We root for him too, and that makes what happens at the end that much more compelling.This is the sort of subject matter, which can be viewed as an indictment of police violence and a statement on racism that might have been ideal for HBO or a filmed documentary like The Thin Blue Line. You also expect to see a post-shooting trial, but the film focuses instead on the events and people around Oscar that lead up to the fateful moment. It is a portrait of a young, flawed life ended before it has a chance to redeem itself. We want to know a bit more about Oscar; what put him in prison, and what was his childhood like? Instead we get a fragment, one day in his life, about a father and his little daughter and the life they had and never will again. The final images of Oscar's real life daughter after the events depicted in the film are touching and sobering.Coogler shows a good command of a scene and how to make it authentic. Moments of levity such as a group countdown to New Years are counterpointed by tense confrontations from the past. The dialogue is realistic, and you really feel you are watching a slice of real life. The pivotal scene of the police arresting Oscar and his friends is startling and upsetting; you feel like it could happen to you. The frantic reactions and emotions of the victims and witnesses as a shot rings out is heart wrenching.Liberal use of hand-held cameras lends an immediacy and realism to the events, and there is a great shot of Sophina from behind as she reacts to the tragedy. We don't need to see her face because we know from her body language exactly how she must feel.One wonders how much of the screenplay is based on truth, but whether this is or isn't a biased view of an event by the filmmaker, it is highly emotionally affective filmmaking. In light of other recent, racially charged headlines, it cannot help but become a hot topic. This vivid, stark reenactment of an event that should never have happened is a relatively simple tale of a complex life, a kind of urban, American tragedy. It is a powerful, filmic statement that raises questions that demand answers.
The 2013 Sundance Winner is worth checking out (by estebangonzalez10)
"I'm good, I'm good, I'm gonna be good."Fruitvale Station is one of those small independent films that found a connection with audiences and critics alike ever since it was released early last year in the Sundance Film Festival winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Nearly an year has passed until I finally was able to watch this captivating and tragic film based on the last day of Oscar Grant's life. This is Ryan Coogler's debut film, and he should have no trouble financing his upcoming projects after the breakthrough with Fruitvale Station <more>
which he also happened to write. It's a passionate and powerful film that benefits from a stellar performance by Michael B. Jordan Chronicle and Friday Night Lights . He is the driving force of this film and the reason why the final 15 minutes hit our emotional chords so hard. The injustice he suffers from police brutality makes our blood boil and ultimately Coogler achieves the effect he was looking for. Since the film is based on a true story and we already know the tragic outcome, I thought it would take away much of the dramatic effect, but I was mistaken because Ryan Coogler uses this knowledge to build the story and make us care for the main protagonist. It makes us question the what ifs and what would've happened if he decided to listen to his daughter and stay home, or travel by car instead of train. It is those small moments that connect with the audience and make us route for him despite the impending doom. It is a well crafted social critique about an important issue that hits home.Oscar Grant Micheal B. Jordan wakes up on the last day of 2008 convinced he's going to turn his life around, making this his New Year's resolution. Trying to get his girlfriend Sophina Melonie Diaz -who also happens to be the mother of his four year old daughter, Tatiana Ariana Neal - to forgive him for a past infidelity and forming a family is his first priority. Next he tries to get his recently lost job back at a local store, but that proves to be impossible. He has promised his mother, Wanda Octavia Spencer , that he will never return to prison so selling drugs is no longer a means to make a living. Despite the difficulties he's facing he's still focused on turning his life around while trying to support his family. So the film continues to follow Oscar as he interacts with the people that cross his path on that last day of the year until the inevitable tragic event that will take place in the train station later that night. I agree with some of the criticism that this film has received for foreshadowing the tragic event throughout the course of the day and trying to put a halo on him by focusing on how he was going to turn his life around. The scene with the dog is one classic example of that and yes it is manipulative and tries a little too hard to win over our sympathies. A mistake that a newcomer like Ryan Coogler can correct as he continues to grow as a promising film maker. Perhaps that is the weakest part of the film, but I can see how a person like him would want to turn his life around considering it was the last day of the year and we usually do make many resolutions during this time. I also agree with the fact that there is probably nothing true about the events that took place during that day other than the tragic outcome at the station which was recreated very well considering the authentic footage I've seen from the incident. But I do have to defend Coogler here because in a way I think we all tend to put a halo on the people we love once they are gone remembering the good things about them and not so much on the negative aspects. However there are moments where we get to see glimpses of the dark side in Jordan's performance which actually enhances the film, like when he confronts the manager. There is a perfect balance in that scene between him trying to help out a girl at the store and then threatening his former boss. Those small moments show the brilliance in Jordan's performance and Coogler's direction. Add that to the emotionally engaging final 15 minutes of the film and you will have a hard time arguing your case against this film.