Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Friday, 26 July 2013 00:00

'Fruitvale Station' tells a tale with tense truth

'Fruitvale Station' tells a tale with tense truth www.trendmixer.com
Written by Martha K. Baker
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About this Media...

The title refers to a station along the metro-rail lines of San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The film, based on a true story, opens in that station with a row of screaming white police officers threatening a row of black men, forced to sit against a wall. 

It does not end there, however. It ends in a hospital, and anyone who knows the true story "Fruitvale Station" is based on also knows that one of those black men, Oscar Grant III, is killed that New Year's Eve by a cop.

The pall that knowledge casts over the 90-minute film adds to the tension and makes the foreshadowing less than sophisticated although real enough. Ryan Coogler, the film's writer and director, did a commendable job of turning the truth of Oscar Grant's life into the art of this tight, tense film. Coogler starts in 2008 but flashes back several times to give a fuller sense of Grant's life before his death at 22. He spends New Year's Eve 2007 resolving to be a better man. He has lied to his Hispanic girlfriend about losing his job, and he gets pressured by his sister to lend her money for rent. He promises his mother that he will buy fish for her birthday dinner that night and tells her not to worry about repaying him -- not on her birthday. He takes his daughter, called T, short for Tatiana, to day care and drops his wife at her job and then kind of cruises the streets of San Francisco.

When he flashes back to his time in the penitentiary, when his own mother said she was not coming back to visit, he renews his commitment to straighten up and fly right, to turn 2008 into a year of new beginnings. At his mom's birthday party, she urges him and his girlfriend to take the train into town for the fireworks at midnight, and he does. He never goes home again.

As Grant, Michael B. Jordan, known for his work on "The Wire" and on "Friday Night Lights," owns this role and blasts through it with compassion and commitment. Melonie Diaz, who has played a variety of bit parts on television, does an excellent job as Soprhina, Grant's girlfriend, who loves him but sees right through him -- just as his mother does. His mother is played by Octavia Spencer; she deserves a second Oscar, given that this part requires more acting than her role in "The Help." Ahna O'Reilly, who was also in "The Help," plays the part of a bystander credibly.

Coogler's direction of this cast and telling of this story are impressive. He is especially effective in crowd scenes, whether in a one-butt kitchen or in a stuffed subway car, where all passengers, stuck on the rails, party at midnight. "Fruitvale Station" is thoroughly commendable. The story is hard to watch, but the filming is stunning. 

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr
KDHX Blog

Local Artist Spotlight


Tok Releases Gold Dollar Hen House Volume 3

Tue April 8
Tok is a Festus based rock band who has been rocking St. Louis for 20 years. They are due to release their third installment of their Gold Dollar Hen House collection on February 28, 2014 at Schlafly's…

KDHX Recommends

April
Wednesday
16

Pancho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band

Pancho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band KDHX welcomes Pancho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band to Jazz at the Bistro April 16th through April 19th. For more information, www.jazzstl.org.


April
Thursday
17

The Sheldon Sessions presents Todd Snider

The Sheldon Sessions presents Todd Snider.   Presented by The Sheldon in partnership with KDHX. For more information, sheldonconcerthall.org.


April
Friday
18

The Minus Five

KDHX welcomes The Minus Five to Off Broadway on April 18th.   For more info, offbroadwaystl.com.


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

3 users and 8313 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook