Posted on 7/30/13 10:10 PM
"Fruitvale Station" is a tremendously great movie about a tragic, but very true event. While it is based on true events, it manages to tell a compelling story about a young man, who is trying to get his life back in order. From deciding to change his life and actually earning an honest living to supporting his family and protecting them at any cost, the script packs a lot into a short period of time. However, nothing feels contrived, rushed, or preachy. Everything feels natural and we can see the change in the characters and can root for them along the way.
Director, Ryan Coogler, does a fantastic job of making us feel apart of this story. We feel as if, we are there every step of the way. Anything that the characters feel or go through we experience it as well. We feel involved in everything that is happening. There are also some very creative shots and intimate moments. When the characters just sit and talk, are some of the most engaging and heartfelt moments of the film. We discover the characters and get great back story as well as where they stand in relation with each other. The great part about this film is that it weaves in and out of instances of sheer joy and moments of true emotional pain. I was literally feeling happy when the characters do something positive and getting watery eyed when something truly awful happens. It's a very involving film.
The acting in this film is phenomenal. From small minor characters to the main ones, the cast is committed and they give a 125%. Michael B. Jordan is superb in this film. He's vulnerable, caring, protective, fighting his inner demons, and everything in between. He gives such a powerful performance and brings so much likability into his character that it makes it even more tragic, when the film ultimately concludes. Octavia Spencer is also incredibly noteworthy as she plays a mom that is conflicted between her son's love and the fear that he might be headed down the wrong path. She shows incredible depth and versatility when she fights with herself to preserve the relationship she has with her son. The rest of the cast as I have said are fantastic and really elevate the film with their impeccable performances.
Overall "Fruitvale Station" so far is the best film of the year. It's a film that not only tells a provocative and honest story about a tragic incident, but also that of a man and his will to change for the better for his family. It's directed well and absorbs the audience into events that are touching and truly one to think about, "when is far, too far?" Everything from writing, directing, and performances are top-notch and escalate this film into something special. I give it 5/5, a compelling and honest retelling of truly horrific events that is enhanced by its committed and talented cast, a script of great depth, and direction.