Directed by Ryan Coogler, staring Micheal B.Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer. The film follows Oscar Grant III on the last day of 2008, as he interacts with both family, friends, and enemies.
This film is based on the real life events that happened at Fruitvale Station, which were shocking enough, but this film brings a such a powerful view of realism on that event. Making you stop and think and consider all that has happened since this.
This is Ryan Coogler first feature length film, the challenge he must have faced is making an event which lasted a mere hour, into a full feature length film. He overcame this challenge by showing us not a hero in the making, but a realistic view of Oscar Grant III trying to overcome his mistakes by doing the right thing. He manages to balance his character so that he has equal moments of us disliking his discussions while praising him for other. Yet the moment the drama begins we side with him instantly.
For those unaware of this story, Oscar Grant III was 22 years old, a young man living in the Bay area with a criminal record. On the night of New Years eve 2008, he went with a group of friends by train into town to celebrate. Due to a past altercation in jail he runs into an old enemy and this escalades both quickly and with racial ramifications that both shock and horrify everyone around and anyone who read about the story.
This film is important, as it was one of the first recorded incidents of police showing racial abuse to young black men with nearly everyone on the train recording the incident. This is still happening today.
Ryan Coogler manages to maintain a level of high interest, despite the main event that is more commonly known about not happening for the first hour and a half film. This allows us to see this man in a realistic fashion, a man trying to do better but with a troubled mental state more realistic for some one having completed prison time.
The hour and a half is needed, not simply to view his interactions with his family but to give us a sense of false calm until the storm hits in a very powerful form, which then becomes one the best filmed scenes I have witnessed for some time.
An observation was made to me after I watched this about the sound in this film. From start to finish we are given music, talking, shouting, city life. The only moment that silence becomes deafening is at the very end.
For his first lead role that I have watched, Michael B.Jorden handles a very complex character and sensitive issue with incredible grace and care. He is in every scene and carries this film with the help of Octavia Spencer who feels like the emotional anchor calming those around even in the most drastic of moments.
OVERALL **** amazing film and very powerful, a long slow paced film which leads to a huge and worth while ending.
RECOMMENDATION – A film that needs to be watched and talked about more then it currently is, a powerful showing of how life has been for some in America despite being 2009, very little has changed 7 years later.