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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fruitvale Station (2013)

An ex-convict (Michael B. Jordan) is trying to get his life back together. Fired from his job, he starts off 2009 with some hope that things will get better and plans to spend New Year's Eve with his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and friends in San Francisco. But 2009 will never happen for him. Based on the killing of Oscar Grant in the early hours of New Year's Day 2009 by police officers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, Ryan Coogler's powerful first feature film is an auspicious debut. Though as with most films "based on a true story", dramatic license is taken but Coogler has perfectly encapsulated the last day of a human being's life and the chaotic end that never should have happened. I don't know what took me so long to get around to watching this film. I'm from the Bay Area and have ridden the very train and gotten off at Fruitvale Station when I lived there and my nephew knows the director (also from the Bay Area) slightly. Anyone who's ever been in Oakland, California can vouch that Coogler nailed the city and its atmosphere. Jordan gives a first rate performance as does Octavia Spencer (THE HELP) as his mother. Coogler shows enormous potential and I hope he doesn't end up being a one shot wonder like John Singleton (BOYZ N THE HOOD). With Ariana Neal, Ahna O'Reilly, Chad Michael Murray and Kevin Durand.

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