Sundance Film Review: Fruitvale

Posted January 24, 2013 in
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Photo Credit: Rachel Morrison


Sundance Film Festival

Director: Ryan Coogler

Directed by a 26-year-old, first-time feature filmmaker, Fruitvale is a near-perfect, emotionally driven drama with a strong-hitting political agenda. Based on true events, the film attempts to recreate the last 24 hours of Oscar Grant's life before he was executed by a police officer at a BART station in Oakland on New Year's Day in 2009. Grant, played by the talented Michael B. Jordan, is characterized as a down-on-his-luck young father, who can't get out of the habit of "fucking up," though he's trying to turn his life around and has all the best intentions. The day leading up to Grant's death is marked by heartfelt confessions to his girlfriend, life-changing career decisions, affectionate moments with his family and juvenile fun with his friends, which sympathizes the audience with his character from the get-go. This is where Fruitvale starts to get shaky. There are two sides to every story, and then a hell of a lot of gray in between. The film claims to reside in this liminal space, but it becomes a little unrealistic in its commiserating depiction of Grant, which makes his character unbelievable at times. Regardless, the theater was filled with gasps and sobs as the last act played out, and anger at the injustice and abuse of power that led to the loss of an innocent human life. This film will spark action and emotion, and I sincerely hope to see more from Ryan Coogler.



Time: 1.24, 6:30 PM Venue: Eccles Theatre, Park City

Time: 1.25, 1:00 PM Venue: Redstone Cinema 2, Park City

Photo Credit: Rachel Morrison Photo Credit: Rachel Morrison