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    January 3, 2014


    Whether this movie is based on or inspired by the real life event that happened in the wee hour of New Year’s Day 2009, Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut feature gives in a ghastly haunting and effective dramatization in “Fruitvale Station”. On the particular day, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was detained by BART transit police at the titular station.

    When he attempted to defend and to reason with the enforcers about the fight he involved on the train, an officer “accidently” shoots Oscar from the back, believing that “Oscar was armed”. The whole incident was recorded by the commuters at the platform (click here for the videos) and through the power of social media; it instantly triggered a massive outrage in the community. Sadly, Oscar died seven hours later.

    “Fruitvale Station” was the darling of last year’s Sundance where the first-time writer-director won the top prizes at the festival along with several recognitions including Cannes. The recognitions seems valid though, as evidently seen from Coogler’s bold touch and simplistic approach to dramatize Grant’s life during the 24 hours period leading up to his death proves to be more realistic than putting up a documentary that salvages the details.

    Regardless of the methods, “Fruitvale Station” is a fine example of social and political movie that portrays the real event with just. It is natural and quite well-balanced in the way that the movie. But there are moments when the movie seems to burn the plot very slow and the road to the final act can be a little bumpy.

    Thankfully, Michael B. Jordan (“Chronicle” and “Red Tails”) plays Oscar Grant with empathy, gripping and charming; while in the process also evokes a contagious-yet-vulnerable complexity on the character. On the opposite playing as Oscar’s mother, Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) is indeed excellent as she provides calmness and effectual.

    At some point, “Fruitvale Station” may contain some heavy-duty and typical narrations but the solid work by Ryan Coogler and perpetual performance by Michael B. Jordan, along with the ample amount of unbelievable and wrenching humanity helps to tip the story, themes and emotion with balance.

    "Fruitvale Station" stars Michael B. Jordan ("Red Tails"), Octavia Spencer ("The Help"), Kevin Durand ("Cosmopolis") and Melonie Diaz ("American Son"), presented by The Weinstein Company, and directed by Ryan Coogler from his screenplay. The movie is not yet rated and is not released in Malaysia. The movie runs about 84 minutes.

    Story: 4.0
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 16.9/20.0
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