Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station ★★★★★

A powerful and devastating drama, in which the final 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant III are dramatized, leading up to his tragic death at the hands of police in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2009, an event that was captured on video by several spectators.

Running a scant 84 minutes, FRUITVALE STATION actually has the sweeping emotional resonance of a mini-epic, so intimately does it involve us the life of the protagonist and those closest to him. The performances are uniformly flawless, with the emphasis being on Michael B. Jordan (CHRONICLE, TV's THE WIRE), Octavia Spencer (THE HELP), and Melonie Diaz (RAISING VICTOR VARGAS).

The first 2/3 are solid, naturalistic drama, but the final 1/3 is something altogether different. The handheld camerawork pulls you right into the exhilarating ambience of New Year's Eve in the big city and it is thrilling in its immediacy, but all the while it's undercut by the terrifying inevitability of what we know is about to happen.

One of 2013's best, a truly important film.

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