Fruitvale Station review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Considering the story surrounding Fruitvale Station is well known in the press and a shocking moment in American culture I was surprised by the release of the film but when it comes to handling such a sensitive topic this is an excellent piece of feature film work and it has one of the best central performances by Michael B Jordan that elevates the tense and ultimately tragic story to new heights.
The film follows Oscar Grant (Jordan) as he sets out to celebrate New Years Eve 2008 with friends and family in San Francisco. The night follows his interactions with everyone he meets as he enjoys the party that is new years and while things start out well he finds himself facing undue hardship when he bumps into enemies, some of which he didn’t even know he had.
If you are unfamiliar with the story then I will not ruin it as I believe it will add a certain shock factor that may make the film that much better as part of the horror and amazement of the film is delivered in the final moments. What I will say is that this film isn’t just about Oscar, its about human nature in general and how over the course of one night Oscar sees the best and the worst of people and everything in between and director (and writer) Ryan Coogler captures it perfectly while never showing that he is a first time feature director.
Jordan delivers one of the best performances of the year as Oscar and its a shame that come award season he was not showered with praise but regardless the movie is worth watching solely for some expert character work by the young actor who rose through the ranks of Friday Night Lights to really burst onto the scene in recent years. While more could be said about the excellence of the film, it is really a study in great characters and wonderful actors with a performance by oscar winner Octavia Spencer also shining bright. In the end this is brilliant filmmaking from a fresh new voice people need to be aware of.