Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station ★★★★★

This is one of the very, very, VERY few occasions where you can use the term "mise-en-scène" without coming off as pretentious. Because let me tell you, the mise-en-scène here (*strokes goatee*) is TREMENDOUS.

In all seriousness, I haven’t experienced something this authentic and full of beautiful love in quite some time. Every scene is 100% important to knowing the character of Oscar Grant, and knowing the character of Oscar Grant is 100% important to how we experience life as a whole after watching the movie. Film as a medium is, as Roger Egbert once said, "a machine that generates empathy", and that's exactly what Coogler does here. He doesn't portray Oscar as a hero, he doesn't portray him as a villain, he doesn't even portray him as a helpless victim. He just portrays him as a human; a beautiful mess with a heart for his family and a tough task set before him that isn't wrapped up in a bow before his death. More than anything, it just makes me think of the Ian MacLaren quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Ryan Coogler is a man who's passionate about communicating those hard battles to the world, to make it clear to everyone that not all things or people are black and white. He's a man after God’s own heart, and my personal hero.