Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
Speaking at the Zürich Film Festival following a screening of his film, writer and director Ryan Coogler stated he wanted to make a film about humanity. Stressing how in the fallout of this tragedy, too few people noted and realized the true sadness behind this event, that a young man went out one night and never came home, never seen by his loved ones again and human life was lost. Coogler discussed how international cinema and particularly the film, City of God, made him realize how much he shared with those who he assumed to be different, expressing a hope that all those who watch this film no matter what their background and situation is, will find themselves relating to Oscar, his emotions, relationships, struggles and experiences. In what is his directorial debut, Coogler has made one of the very best films of this year and told an emotional, important story without being manipulative or preachy. Fruitvale Station is a film that will anger and upset you, but it is not a film you will regret watching.
Michael B. Jordan plays Oscar and delivers what is in my opinion the best lead actor performance of the year so far. Known best for his role as Wallace in The Wire and more recently for Chronicle, Michael B. Jordan is a rising star who has the potential to go on to be one of the greats. Ryan Coogler stated how for Oscar's family, watching Jordan's performance, it was as if he had brought Oscar back to life. Current reports state that he will potentially star in the sequel to Independence Day, which is perhaps apt as he has the charisma of a current and the potential of a young Will Smith. He carries this entire film and does so effortlessly, portraying a person who is shown in both positive and negative lights. This film is not an angelic portrayal of this man and the film is prepared to address the darker aspects of his life, showing how he served prison time and was still involved in drug dealing. Most importantly, throughout the whole film it feels as if we truly are watching a real human being go about a day, eerily unaware that it will be the last day of their life. Coogler opens with the real cell phone footage of the event, giving the entire film this foreboding sense of doom. Coogler brings natural performances out of his entire cast and paints a very real and believable picture, which does not at all feel as if it has been glamourized for Hollywood consumption. From a young actor and a young director, this is mightily impressive stuff and I will be rooting for both of them to receive the Oscar nominations and recognition that they deserve.
The supporting cast are solid too, with Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer being particular standouts as Oscar’s girlfriend and mother. Ariana Neal should also be given credit for her performance, as Oscar’s young daughter, who just like the rest of the cast, feels completely natural and real.
As the film reaches the inevitable, the scenes that follow are very distressing and shook me up. It is a horrifying, even in fact quite terrifying thing to see that will leave you with both a burning sense of anger as well as deep sadness. Similar to the best episodes of The Wire, when all is said is done; you are left sitting there in a subdued state, left pondering what you have just seen. In ending the film on a simple, common question, Coogler absolutely tears your heart out, closing the film at the exact right time and truly displaying how as he said, the true tragedy was the loss of human life and the loved ones who will never see this man again.
Rating: MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,
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