"Fruitvale Station" is not the biggest film to hit theaters this week, but it may be the most powerful. A re-enactment of the events leading up to the death of Oscar Grant, a young Bay Area man who was killed on New Year's Eve 2009, writer-director Ryan Coogler's portrait of tragic loss and hopeful redemption tells a story that promises to reverberate with audiences, even if they weren't familiar with the real events that inspired it.
But how is the docudrama, which stars Michael B. Jordan as Grant? Check out a handful of reviews that may give you something to consider when you're watching the film this weekend.
How Is Michael B. Jordan As The Film's Main Character?
"Played by up-and-comer Michael B. Jordan ("Chronicle") with enormous restraint and pathos to spare, Grant develops into a deeply sympathetic young man over the course of the movie, which makes the imminent climax particularly tough to watch. Coogler's camera captures the details unavailable to the recording devices that captured Grant's death — namely, the whole story." — Eric Kohn,Indiewire
How Does The Movie Handle The Real-Life Story?
"Coogler, who grew up in the same neighborhoods as Grant, evokes a tangible sense of place, and his staging of the climactic incident hits like a fist in the gut. It's not enough to wipe out his reduction of this real-life figure into a composite-character martyr or the lukewarm filmmaking that's come before, even if you're left shaken all the same." — Sam Adams, Time Out
How Realistic Is The Portrait Of Oscar Grant?
"The movie stacks the deck a little bit, fudging some facts and inventing some characters for maximum dramatic heft — a nice woman Grant helps out and flirts with during the day turns out to be on the station platform, for example — which is a problem only if you are pedantic and chilly anyway. This is a movie about a tragedy, a pointless, stupid tragedy, and it wants to wring every emotion from it. This is not a subtle film but it is a deeply earnest one: It wants you to feel just how much was lost." — Will Leitch, Deadspin
Does It Dramatize What Happens To Oscar?
"Coogler dramatizes Oscar's last day by choosing not to dramatize it: The events unfold casually, without any particular scheme. And yet because we know how this story will end, there's a shivery, understated tension running beneath." — Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
How Does The Movie Make Audiences Feel?
"By the end we are convinced that Jordan's Oscar Grant has turned a corner, but that isn't enough to escape his fate. And the overwhelming feeling is one of sadness." — Jordan Hoffman, Screencrush