Fruitvale Station Reviews
Coogler immerses us in this life, so that when it's cut short, you won't just weep, you'll cry out in protest. Fruitvale Station is great political filmmaking because it's great filmmaking, period.
As the film plays out, the audience is likely to be overwhelmed by anger and the inability to stop what is coming. Opportunities for the story to take a different turn and avoid tragedy loom, leaving a haunting impression.
In naturalistic and unforced strokes, he allows Grant to exist as a complex, even contradictory human, inviting the audience simply to sit with his life, his loss and what they both meant.
Without ever being forced or false, and with an amazingly honest eye and ear for detail, writer-director Ryan Coogler's drama about a young man's final hours is one of the most extraordinary films you'll see this year.
It's hard not to watch Fruitvale Station with a coiled dread... Yet, Coogler's greatest achievement may be in reminding us that Grant was a work in progress with people who loved him in spite of his flaws and because of his hopes.
The intimacy of debut writer-director Ryan Coogler's approach to the film and the no-frills, believably real quality of the main performances combine to drive the senselessness of Oscar's killing home with visceral impact.
Coogler could've settled for an enraging, full-throttle melodrama, designed to boil your blood from beginning to end. But "Fruitvale Station" is better, more heartbreaking, than that.
Oscar Grant had friends, he had a sister and a mother and a grandmother, a girlfriend, a child. In concise measures, Fruitvale Station shows us these connections, these bonds.
It's a story of one young man's tragedy, a story that resonates with so many other tragedies. Oscar Grant wasn't some mere symbol; this film makes him flesh and, unfortunately, blood.