Review of "Fruitvale Station (DVD)"

published 06/09/2017 | thedevilinme
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"'Never judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes'"

Fruitvale Station (DVD)

Fruitvale Station (DVD)

Star – Michael B Jordan
Genre – Crime biopic
Run Time – 85 minutes
Certificate – 18R
Country – U.S
Oscars – 1 nomination
Awards – 39 Wins & 53 Nominations
Amazon – £5, 99 DVD £8.97 Blue Ray
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If a white guy with a long criminal history gets shot dead by the cops no one really cares, other than the tattooed and noisy family and friends outside court, demanding justice (and then compo). If a black guy with a criminal record gets shot by the cops you can get a riot. He is always described as a good church loving boy with lots of friends and loves his mom and wouldn’t harm a fly. Then the Daily Mail prints the Facebook pics with the gang sign and the real story unfolds. In America a hell of a lot people of color get shot by the cops simply because the cops are all armed and the criminals are also entitled to be armed and neither side can back down in a confrontation. But when the killing appears to suggest racism or malpractice of n innocent we rightfully get upset and make movies and documentaries about it to vent our liberal ire, the case with Fruitvale Station, the film based on a true story of police malpractice in Oakland, California.

Unfortunately the relationships between the black community and the cops is so far gone ANY black guys shot by the cops is seen as a shot at all of the community, even through that guy was more likely to kill them, the general public, than any white cop was. You get this damming statistic that young black and Asian men disproportionately die in police custody yet if you unpick that stat you see it’s purely around mental illness and proportionality to the criminal racial make up of the area. Cops don’t set out in the morning to shoot black people or strangle them in police cells. In fact just fivr black men have been shot dead by the MET police in 50 years. It’s just that the cops have to confront the racial criminal class in their area. In American big cities it’s generally black or Hispanic and in the sticks it’s generally drunk white rednecks. It remains a fact that 98% of fatal homicides of black males are done by black males but the 2% always make the news. They are emotive and everyone gets angry about it.

Fruitvale Station is district of Oakland, the Ying to nearby San Francisco’s liberal yang. The film only got over the line to be made because Oscar winner Octavia Spencer got involved with cash and a co-star credit, elevating it from TV movie status. Lead Michael B Jordan is going to be a huge name after cutting his teeth in the star factory that was The Wire and Friday Night Lights the very handsome young man has been eye - catching in films like Creed and this, and will do huge box office when the Black Panther (comic book) film finally gets made.

Cast

Michael B. Jordan ... Oscar Grant
Melonie Diaz ... Sophina
Octavia Spencer ... Wanda
Kevin Durand ... Officer Caruso
Chad Michael Murray ... Officer Ingram
Ahna O'Reilly ... Katie
Ariana Neal ... Tatiana
Keenan Coogler ... Cato
Trestin George ... Brandon
Joey Oglesby ... Cale
Michael James ... Carlos
Marjorie Crump-Shears ... Grandma Bonnie
Plot

22 - year - old Oscar Grant (Michael P Jordan) lives the regular life of a black man in the Bay Area in Hayward, California. He has a Hispanic girlfriend, Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who they have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter by, Tatiana (Arianna Neal). He recently lost his job in a supermarket but has yet to tall his girl, mainly because he only just told her he has been cheating on her.

On New Years Eve 2008 he wakes up with a plan to turn over a new leaf. He wants to be a better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, and to be a better partner to his girl, who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana.

His resolutions start out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He can’t convince his boss to give him back his job, he sees a dog get run over and killed, and hooks up with a friend he used to sell weed with and through flashback to his previous life there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But after celebrating his moms birthday party he joins friends as they head out on the BART (Bay Area Public Transport system) to see the New Year in and watch the fireworks over San Francisco. But Oscars past catches up with him on the train as tragedy strikes, the whole violent and seemingly needless clash with law enforcement thereafter unjust and caught on more than one cameraphone, an event that would shock the Bay Area.

Results

I didn’t know the story before watching this and it certainly made it more interesting. The gradual and foreboding soundtrack suggests something bad is going to happen at some point. All I knew was it got good ratings online from all the places I wanted to see that. I also like Michael P Jordan and a real black exciting talent good in the lead here.

Although it sets out not to be judgmental it gently ends up a black issues movie and another chance for Octavia Spencer to stick another badly fitting wig on and ham it up some for her sistas. She won an Oscar for The Help and good in Hidden Figures but a serious actress and so needs to break from her safe movie space to hit home with her black American base. These types of films do that.

As entertaining as the film is it’s a very glossy and a bias portray of Oscar and his family and friends and although the critics say the film is balanced on what happened I don’t think it is. Every opportunity is taken by the director to paint Oscar as a really good guy who loves his grandma and family and the ideal husband. He is nice to people every day and his previous jail time from being n angry black guy was not that relevant on the tragedy in the directors eye. We know that tension between the black community and the cops is seen as victimization by one side and tempers flare, sometimes needlessly as egos get involved. That side of the event was not touched here. The film ends up a political one-sided angle.

Oscar Grant's father is never mentioned in the film. He was a self-confessed former cocaine dealer who has been imprisoned since at least September 8, 1985. He is serving a life sentence at California's Solano State Prison for first-degree murder. He was permitted to sue BART on behalf of his son for his share. Grant's mother and daughter settled for separate total payments of $2.8 million.

The film cost $800,000 to make and did a useful $17.5 million back. As I say if you know the story then this can only be propaganda of sorts as it is so one – sided and sweetened. The police side is simply not put in the film and the actors cast to play the white cops are Neanderthals although no racism portrayed. I just wanted to it explores the race issues more on why so much tension. I enjoyed it enough though and can recommend it but no where as strong as its ratings and almost an obligation by the movie press to be gently with it because of its subject matter. As we know with Bill Cosby, not everything is as good as depicted.

RATINGS


Imdb.com – /10.0 (votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 94% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
Trailer

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334649/videoplayer/vi1457760537?ref_=tt_ov_vi

Special Features


None
Critics

Times UK –‘Coogler's realistic debut recreates Grant's final day with affection,refusing to cast him as either saint or sinner.


New Statesman –‘The problem with Fruitvale Station isn't that it is so dense with foreboding but that foreboding is the only register it has’.

Guardian –‘There is something almost spiritual in the eerie importance that all the ordinary, banal facts of a life achieve under scrutiny, as time is running out’.

Sight & Sound –‘It focuses on its subject's humanity and assesses the tragedy on a personal rather than explicitly sociopolitical level. However, the way in which it fleshes out Oscar's character makes it an acutely political work.

Financial Times –‘Why is goodhearted liberal cinema sometimes so dumb?’.

The Mail –‘Michael B. Jordon honed his talent on series like The Wire and Friday Night Lights. His performance seems natural but that doesn't mean it was easy to achieve. It's subtle, deep and fiery’.

Philadelphia Weekly –‘It's a gentle film, with deep reservoirs of empathy and understanding. And so terribly sad’.
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Comments on this review

  • jo-1976 published 16/09/2017
    Tempting introduction
  • tumblraddict published 14/09/2017
    Excellent review!
  • mousy86 published 13/09/2017
    great review x
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Product Information : Fruitvale Station (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Classification: 18 years and over

Production Year: 2013

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Kevin Durand

EAN: 0013132607825

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Listed on Ciao since: 22/04/2014