Critics Say Ryan Coogler's Debut 'Fruitvale Station' Is "Magnificent"

Fruitvale Station is released on Friday 12th July. The movie follows 22-year-old Oscar as he encountered acquaintances around San Francisco Bay on New Year's Eve 2008. His day ended in tragedy when he was accidentally shot by police officers. The film has been widely praised by critics.

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan at a screening of Fruitvale Station, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The film is based on the true story of Oscar Grant III who was shot by police officers at a railway station in Oakland, California. Grant was restrained by police officers who believed him to be armed; the death caused controversy throughout the US.His death appears to be accidental with Police Officer Mehserle using his gun instead of his Taser.

According to the New York Times the film draws attention to the issues Black men living in the US face. A.O.Scott says there are fixed roles for Black characters, primarily as a result of "popular culture and the psychopathology of everyday American life", these roles are "an innocent victim, a noble warrior or a menace to society". According to Scott, director Ryan Coogler conveys well the depth and complexity of Grant's character and does not force him into one of these stereotypes. 

Watch the Fruitvale Station Trailer:

Coogler wrote and directed the film which includes actual footage taken from Oakland Station at the moment of Grant's death. This is controversial in itself but is evidence which was presented at the trial of the two police officers and was shown on numerous news channels following the incident. 

Reviews of the film have been favourable. Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal praised the biographical drama highly calling it "magnificent" whilst commenting that it celebrates the "beauty, contradiction and thwarted promise" of Grant's life. 

Michael B. Jordan (The Wire) stars as Oscar Grant. He is supported by Melonie Diaz (Ro) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) as Grant's mother. Kevin Durand (I Am Number Four) and Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) play the officers involved in Grant's death. 

Fruitvale Station is released in US cinemas today (Friday 12th July). 

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer at the Museum of Modern Art screening of Fruitvale Station

Melanie Diaz
Melonie Diaz at the same screening as above. 


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Tags: Michael B. Jordan - Melonie Diaz - Octavia Spencer - Chad Michael Murray - Kevin Durand


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