Thursday, July 25, 2013


Bottom Line: Based on actual events that took place early New Year’s Day 2009, FRUITVALE STATION is a deliberate, efficient and intimate day-in-the-life retelling of Bay Area resident Oscar Grant’s unfortunate and all-too-soon death.  It’s early yet, but this movie is primed for Academy consideration – especially for actor Michael B. Jordan who inhabits the main character with a charismatic gusto we’ve yet to see on screen in the past six months – he’s an actor who makes palpable the torment he endures while making decisions (both good and bad) over the course of 24 hours…  This is riveting and mostly moving, matter-of-fact filmmaking that deserves a look – and although it obviously takes liberties with the tale it’s telling, perhaps making the ‘hero’ out to be a tad to saintly – it’s still a boldly told story about a tormented soul who’s life ended far too soon.  It’s a vision of an unwarranted and untimely death that’s both somber and uplifting.  Manipulative circumstances may cause the wrench of your heart, but that fist you feel punching you in the gut is one hundred percent real.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Rated: R
Running time: 84 minutes
: Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family, and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area - and the entire nation - to its very core. (c) Weinstein

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