#REVIEW: “FRUITVALE STATION”
Easily one of my favourite Films thus far in 2013, the compelling Fruitvale Station finally gets a release after months of anticipation following widespread acclaim at both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals. Reviewers at my Screening were so moved that a majority of them sat in the dark as the credits rolled, allowing for a moment to regain their composure.
The Drama written and directed by Ryan Coogler is based on the events surrounding the final day of Oscar Grant’s (Michael B. Jordan) life, New Year’s Eve 2009. Having weaved in and out of the Justice System, Oscar fights the battle within himself to stay out of trouble and be the Father to his Daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal), Husband to Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and Son to Wanda (Octavia Spencer), whom he is expected to be.
Coogler does a fine job on this Feature debut, drawing rich and astounding performances from his Ensemble, particularly Jordan whom transitions as primarily a Television Actor to what hopefully is the beginning of a Film Career. On a deeper level he understands the struggles which Oscar faces to do good, at once drawn to the forces which keep him from making the right choices in his life. One key scene has Wanda visiting him in prison, Jordan showing remarkable range, convincingly calm and cool, then suddenly snapping in an instant upon being provoked by a fellow Inmate. That moment alone makes Jordan‘s Oscar a Contender for an Oscar… and Awards Season has yet to begin. Coogler captures with precision the gray areas of life – that Oscar‘s demise was a combination of circumstance and choice and furthermore, despite his choices, he is portrayed as a good person. There is an honest beauty to some of the Film’s more tender moments between Oscar, Sophina and Tatiana.
Oscar Winner Spencer as always is phenomenal in her perpetual state of concern for her Son, embodying what it means to be a Mother tested to the extreme, being forced to confront a variety of unfortunate circumstances, while always remaining collected. Diaz is a fresh face with, astoundingly good as Oscar‘s Wife, exhibiting an irresistible charm to her and hopefully we will be seeing more of her in the near future. Child Actor Neal is heartbreakingly good as a bewildered Daughter trying to understand her Father’s repeated absences.
eOne Films releases the unmissable Fruitvale Station on Friday, July 26, 2013.