When I first started to watch “Fruitvale Station” I did not really know what to expect. I knew that it surrounded the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Eve 2009. He was out with his girlfriend and some friends to ring in the new year when he got in to a scuffle on a sky train in San Francisco. When the police showed up, one of them pinned him to the ground while the other shot him in the back. The officer says he meant to grab his taser gun and made a mistake. How could a feature film be made out of a single event that could of happened to anyone?
The result is a look at the day in the life of someone who does not know it will be his last alive. That person is Oscar Grant, played by Michael B. Jordan. The film follows him as he gets his daughter off to daycare, drops by his former employer to beg for his job back, attends his mothers birthday dinner then heads out to have some fun on New Years Eve. We even get somewhat entangled in some of the drama that has happened in his past. All of this leads up to stunning moment when he is shot to death by an officer of the law while being held by two other officers.
The triumph of this movie is how low key it all is. Writer and director Ryan Coogler never makes any attempts to make Oscar a hero or melodramatic in any way. Everything that happens feels like it could be happening to anyone. Even the events leading up to the fateful moment start with some minor conflicts that quickly elevates in to a scary situation.
I found myself full absorbed by “Fruitvale Station”. After it was over I just simply sat and reflected on what I had just seen. I will have to watch it again as it’s power took me by surprise.