• Fruitvale Station Review


    “Fruitvale Station” is a ripped from the headlines story of how a BART transit officer decided an unarmed man and his friends were dangerous and decided to kill one when he began asking too many questions. We meet Oscar P Grant (Michael B. Jordan) as he is attempting to get his life together with his long-time girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz). They have a daughter together and despite his frequent shady dealings, Oscar tries to get leave that life to get a regular job.

    As New Year’s Eve 2008 approaches, Oscar’s family and friends plan to celebrate. After leaving his mother’s birthday party, that also falls on New Year’s Eve, Oscar and his girlfriend meet up with several of their friends to go see some lakeside fireworks. After arriving too late to see them and celebrating in the area, the group begins to travel back using the city’s BART system.

    A couple of stops before they arrive at their destination a scuffle breaks out onboard the car they are on which the friends are involved with. The group hears that the train is being delayed as BART security officers arrive on scene. They decide it is best that they leave the train and attempt to walk the rest of the way home. The security detail surrounds the group and starts to question them. Oscar, who has been in prison before, starts to ask the cops questions about what the charges are and why are they be detained. One cop becomes angry with Oscar and eventually shoots him. “Fruitvale Station” is a film that really tries to be more than it is. It has a couple of big name producers that felt the story was one that needed to be told. It has some good acting by both Jordan and Diaz who have a great chemistry though they don’t really spend that much time together on screen Octava Spencer plays Oscar’s mother with her typical mix of smart lines and emotional moments. The direction is adequate for someone who hasn’t directed a feature film before. Ryan Coogler bookends the film with real life footage from actual mobile phone footage and a gathering last year at the station where the incident took place. The problem with this film is that it seems both unpolished and unfinished. Many of the films important scenes feature shaky cam that takes away from drama of the moment. The script seemed to be bearable until the moments where the shooting takes place. Then it seems like the script was rushed to get done and because of that after we see what happens to everyone in title cards, the movie seemed to end suddenly. There also isn’t a lot of time to get to like any of the characters that are introduced or for that matter grow. The main characters come off almost as stereotypes or discarded characters from a television series. It’s hard to really knock a film that tries so hard. From the outset the film wants to be one that wants to be OSCAR bait. Unfortunately, due to a clunky script and a low budget feel, “Fruitvale Station” might be worth seeing on a discount night or on your local premium cable station. 7/10