North Texas Daily

Review: “Fruitvale Station”

Review: “Fruitvale Station”

Michael B. Jordan stars in "Fruitvale Station." Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

Review: “Fruitvale Station”
July 17
11:31 2013

Cole Clay / Intern

Rating: 4/5

Once in a blue moon, a film will leave you in such awe that you remain in your seat long after the credits roll—‘“Fruitvale Station” is one of those movies. Making his film debut, 27-year-old writer-director Ryan Coogler has made a truly special picture, and it’s apparent why it swept this year’s awards ceremony at the Sundance Film Festival, including the coveted Grand Jury Prize. Carried by its lead actor Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station” is the most forthright and gripping film to hit theaters this year.

Based on the true story, “Fruitvale Station” follows a day in the life of Oscar Grant (Jordan), a former drug dealer who is in a constant battle of head vs. heart as he makes moral decisions involving his family, friends and even a few enemies.

Jordan (“Chronicle,” 2012) gives a masterful performance, capturing each demeanor of Grant’s personality. Whether it’s Grant’s relationship with his adorable daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal), or the not so glamorous part of his life such as selling marijuana, Grant’s kind heart will eventually win you over completely. Jordan must have had a keen understanding regarding Grant’s psyche because he expertly crafts each aspect of the character’s compartmentalized life.

Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz play lovers in "Fruitvale Station." Photo courtesy of The Weinstein Company.

The supporting players warrant nearly as much credit as Jordan. Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who supplied many laughs as Minny Jackson in 2011’s “The Help,” provides audiences with another indelible performance as Grant’s loving mother, harboring an exceptional level of tenderness. Melonie Diaz, who starred opposite Channing Tatum in “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (2006), plays Grant’s loyal girlfriend Sophina. Her character is the window to Grant’s soul. Jordan and Diaz’s natural chemistry rivals with many of the best on screen romances.

Coogler paces the film eloquently and casually as each scene unfolds the tension that has been lying underneath slowly begins to surface culminating with a flooring climax. Some aspects that Coogler inserts into film seem to be a bit contrived, such as certain minor characters coming full circle with Grant in a moment of crisis, but this is all forgiven due to the emotional weight the film carries.

“Fruitvale Station” is a film in a class of its own that will no doubt serve as a coming out party for Coogler and Jordan. With captivating performances and a wunderkind director, this film is likely to create some buzz around Oscar season.

“Fruitvale Station” opens Friday.

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