There are films that are brave enough to tackle subjects that invoked a lot of controversy, but it’s how they handle it that determines how effective the film actually is. The latest Fruitvale Station does just that taking on a story that rocked the Bay Area in 2008. It sports an impressive cast including Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand, and Chad Michael Murray, but does it take the right rode to give it the effect it needs to work?
Fruitvale Station tells the true story of a young man who is struggling to make up for the mistakes of his past and getting his life together. The film follows him through one day as he crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant. This is one of those movies that had the makings of a great movie just based on the tragic events behind it, but thankfully the filmmakers made it so much more than that. The story doesn’t focus on the controversy of the end results, but instead of the person that went through it. There was no sugar coating trying to make Oscar out to be something he wasn’t but instead showed a young troubled man trying to do the right thing while still struggling with bad decisions. Michael B. Jordan continues to showcase his amazing talent and here brings so many layers to this character it elevates the movie to a whole new level. The rest of the cast do an excellent job of bringing the film together, but this is Jordan’s show all the way. He delivers the performance of his career and is still just getting started so rest assured there is more greatness to come. What’s amazing is that the majority of the film seems to be just another average coming of age story following this young man that works quite well, with just a small portion focusing on the tragic events, but those final moments add so much power to the rest of the story.
This is a story not about the tragic events of this young man’s life, but instead celebrating a man who was trying to turn things around for himself and his family. This is a story of loss and love that is powerfully moving and perfectly executed. Much respect goes out to director Ryan Coogler who chose to keep the focus on this young man as opposed to the usual direction of just trying to exploit the cops who were at fault. That aspect has already been told through the news and courts, but this film lets you meet Oscar Grant.