‘Fruitvale Station,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” arrives in theaters as this year’s independent film to beat when it comes to year-end awards.

Quiet, stirring, enraging and sometimes quite funny, Coogler’s film, which took the two top prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a snapshot of the dialectic of race in America, told from the viewpoint of a member of the underclass, chasing the American dream. As played by Michael B. Jordan, this character’s true story brings dimension to someone whose name might otherwise only be known from headline or TV news, if at all.

Before there was Trayvon Martin, there was Oscar Grant. Jordan plays Grant, a young man living in Oakland and trying to get and keep his life on track. It’s almost New Year’s Eve 2008 and Oscar is making plans with his friends and his girlfriend, Sophina (Melonie Diaz), to go out. In the course of the day leading up to a post-midnight encounter with transit cops in an Oakland BART station, Coogler paints a portrait of Oscar that is compelling and full-bodied.

This review continues on my website.

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