“I don’t even know where to start with this one. Whoa, such an intense intense film. Since winning big at Sundance, Fruitvale Station has been all the buzz of the indie circuit, and I’ve just been dying to watch it. With recent events in the news, it’s been thrown into even more discussions, but I won’t get into all of that.
We’ve got a ripped from the headlines true story of Oscar. Oscar was killed by cops on a subway platform on the way home from celebrating New Years Eve. It was caught on camera by lots of bystanders with cellphones, and there was public outrage. Oh yeah, Oscar was black. The cops were white.
The film opened with some of the actual cellphone footage, then backtracked to recap his last day. Oscar played with his daughter, celebrated his Mom’s birthday, spent some time with his girlfriend, all perfectly normal behavior, completely oblivious to the fact that it was the end. Because afterall, how could he have known? And it was in the shadow of what we knew would happen that all the otherwise mundane seemed profound. They also didn’t overdo it. Okay, so maybe there were a few interactions that were a little overly fabricated to drive the point home, but for the most part, it felt real. Which is why it felt so heavy.
By the time we were getting to some of the final scenes, I could hardly breathe. I was close to tears. I remember walking out of there almost zombie-like trying to process everything. The film could not have been what it was if it wasn’t for the truly amazing cast. Up and coming Michael B Jordan was our Oscar, and he carried the entire thing, heart and soul. The way he acted with his friends was completely different from how he was with his enemies and completely different from how he was with his family. He switched between them easily and just elicited so much emotion from the audience. Melonie Diaz was probably my favorite as his girlfriend. She’s shown up here and there in films, but she’s never shone so brightly as she did here. However, the real anchor of the film was Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother. There is a reason this woman has an Academy Award on her mantle, and I applaud her for using her Hollywood street cred for small and powerful indies like this.
So far, this is one of the biggest wins of the summer, and it’s not even what you’d think of as a big summer movie. But it’s one that’s gonna stay with me for a while
Fruitvale Station – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/