Film Review: “Fruitvale Station” An Oasis In the Summer Film Desert

The summertime typically belongs to loud, effects-filled blockbusters and giggle-worthy comedies. But this summer, there’s something different in the air.

The Conjuring a horror film that normally belongs in winter of fall where horror movies seem to fit the general mood, took #1 in a crowded film weekend in July and produced one of the most successful opening weekends for an R-rated film ever. Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen‘s newest release, threatens to surpass Midnight in Paris as his most successful film ever and has already created tremendous Oscar buzz.

Enter Fruitvale Station.

Set in Oakland/San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2008, writer/director Ryan Coogler tells the true story of Oscar Juliuss Grant III- a young man whose attempt to turn his life around was brutally interrupted by San Francisco BART police.

Coogler masters simple, effective storytelling, and star Michael B. Jordan (maybe consider a name change?) charms while being utterly and completely honest in his portrayal of Grant. Solid acting from the entire cast and the wise decision to not bloat this film with overly-scripted shmaltz or drown out the quiet moments with a huge score combine to make this film genuine and, at times, hard to watch.

For anyone who has been searching for salvation from all the Iron Men and Wolverines dominating the summer box office, you don’t have to look very far- Fruitvale Station will happily oblige.

Bottom Line: Not an easy movie to watch, but definitely a must-see.


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