July 15, 2013

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station (2013)
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Country: USA

Review: The sad and real story of Oscar Grant, a 22-years-old Bay Area dweller, who was fatally shot by a policeman in a local Rapid Transit station, was in the base of Ryan Coogler’s fantastic directorial debut. The tragic events, captured by numerous cell phones and digital video cameras, were subject of impetuous protests against the policemen involved. The story was able to catch my attention in such a way that I simply could not take my eyes off the screen. Michael B.Jordan, Melonie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer, bestowed a deep intensity in their performances, enhancing the realism of the scenes. Coogan’s direction was another crucial factor in this aspect, encouraged by a skillfully hand held camera and decent digital treatment. I didn’t find any type of exploitation in dramatic terms; only the inevitable emotional weight associated to the facts. We were spared to see the tough moments of a mother saying her daughter that her dad is dead. But I kept wondering how hard this situation must be. All those scenes, so powerful and full of soul, could hit you hard, and that’s why “Fruitvale Station” is so valuable, absorbing, and yet revolting in its story. This new gem of the independent cinema is an absolute tour de force, and is very much recommended. The film deservedly won the audience award and the grand jury prize at Sundance, as well as the Avenir Prize at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section.

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