Fruitvale Station

Director: Ryan Coogler, Main Cast: Michael B. JordanMelonie DiazOctavia Spencer;

fruitvale-station

New Year’s Eve 2008, the last twenty four hours of Oscar Grant’s life. Ryan Coogler writes and directs an engaging and harrowing film, starting at the end of the story with the original video taken by a witness of a senseless act. Oscar is a young man, 22-years-old, with a daughter and a girlfriend. He is not what you would call a law abiding citizen, he did a stint in prison and he sells pot. We also learn that he cheats on his girlfriend, he lost his job because he is chronically late and, well of course, he lies about it. On the flip side the director wants to show that Oscar tries his best to turn around things, he takes care of his family and he is kind to strangers. We watch Oscar going through the ups and downs of what feels like an ordinary day, although we know it has a tragic conclusion. Oscar takes his daughter Tatiana to kindergarden and his girlfriend Sophina to work, shops for his mother’s birthday party, worries about rent and bills to pay and makes an effort to walk the line (like giving up dealing pot and hoping to find a regular job!). Oscar spends his evening first at his mother’s party then he goes to San Francisco with Sophina and some friends to celebrate the New Year. The fateful decision of taking the train instead of his car will have unforeseen consequences (for him) while the viewer has been experiencing a lingering sensation of dread that slowly builds up from the beginning of the film. It is the strong point of the movie along with Michael B. Jordan’s impressive performance as Oscar. Octavia Spencer and Melodie Diaz as Oscar’s mother and Sophina are also very convincing and touching. A very interesting approach for an emotionally charged topic and a first time director. Powerful and gut wrenching. —7.5/10

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