Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Fruitvale Station

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A man wakes up on New Year’s Eve 2008 with a strange feeling..

As it progresses, he spends the whole day preparing his new year resolutions; being a better partner to his girlfriend, a better father to his daughter, a better son to his mother.
But as the strange feeling gets stronger, the man realises his life may not be too easy to change. And that unfortunately the changes won’t happen.

Because he’s going to die.

 

fruitvale-station-trailer-05112013-112150 

Cast

Michael B. Jordan – Oscar

Octavia Spencer – Wanda

Melonie Diaz – Sophina

Ahna O’Reilly – Katie

Ariana Neal – Tatiana

Marjorie Crump-Shears – Grandma Bonnie (as Marjorie Shears)

 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival Premiere Of The Weinstein Company's "Fruitvale Station" - Red Carpet

 

Real & Raw

This movie is raw, gritty. And what makes it such is the fact it follows a middle-class black dude as he goes about his daily business in Bay Area, California.
Almost as if a camera has been stuck to the man’s shoulder, the movie follows Oscar in true documentary fashion as he takes his daughter to school, visits his friend and former colleague at the supermarket he used to work at, argues with his girlfriend, confides in his grandmother, etc.

As the movie continued, I did wonder if it was filmed in real time – the feature seemed to drag on for a while as it focused on Oscar’s final day minute by minute, like a reality TV show. Then night falls, and our protagonist is nearing his grisly end..

 Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.53.06 A scene from Fruitvale Station Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.51.12

 

Michael’s Performance

Not bad at all.
This 27-year-old actor brings a powerful performance to the screen as Oscar. He maintains his masculine bad-boy character throughout the movie effortlessly, and never falters. A very steadfast performance from him. His long, squinty stares ensure the tension and raw emotion are a constant presence as he swaggers his way around the set.

Although his character is the steretypical ‘bad boy from the ghetto’, it is actually a very watchable piece of cinema. It involves a lot of other characters including his girlfriend Sophina who add nice dynamics to the movie. But be warned – if you’re a fidgeter – it is at least 1 hour 10 minutes before anything actually happens. The action doesn’t kick off straight away as the movie is based on the hours building up to Oscar’s shooting.
But for what it lacks in action, it makes up for in emotion; Octavia Spencer is fantastic as Wanda – Oscar’s mother. Her performance alone brings fantastic emotional value, especially towards the end when she and a few others are sat in a hospital waiting room and the tragic news is announced. Octavia erupts like nothing I’ve seen before from her – this was precious, a fantastic piece of drama.

No one was overly bad in this movie, each cast member proved to be as strong as the next whether a main part or supporting artist.
The overall talent was excellent and strong.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.52.30 Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.51.55 Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.52.45 

Nigger

One thing I couldn’t fathom was why the black characters walked around calling each other ‘nigger’.

“yo nigger”
“whassup nigger?”
“you’re a little bitch-nigger”

I thought black guys got extremely offended when someone called them that?!.. turns out as long as it’s a black calling another black “nigger” it is absolutely fine and accepted.
Oh, but if a white calls a black “nigger”.. a fight bloody kicks off.
And if the downright bizarre happens and a black guy calls a white guy “nigger”, the white guy (as shown in the movie) becomes offended – even though he is white and the insult is immediately irrelevant.

Jesus, what a world we live in eh?
Whoever invented the word Nigger must be very proud.

 

 Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 19.48.15

Fruitvale Station is based on a true story, so I am limited to what I can comment on story / script wise. But I will say that the movie is not too bad – it’s just parts of it are tediously long and tiresome.
It is watchable, but if you’re hoping for any action to kick off early – don’t. The only main action is Oscar’s confrontation with the police officers and this is at the end of the feature.

The issue of racism is portrayed strongly, and is touched on very well – in fact the final scene had me thinking, “the police officers can’t do THAT, this isn’t the 1800’s!”
My only query is why director Ryan Coogler decided to produce a movie based on this particular event. All those tragedies all across the world, and he selects this one to make a movie about.
I left the cinema wondering what the point of it was.

I wouldn’t watch this again, it’s definitely a ‘once is enough’.

chad michael murray - fruitvale Fruitvale_BARTshooting FRUITVALE STATION

 

 

2/10

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This entry was posted on June 8, 2014 by .
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