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Fruitvale Station (2013)
In 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was detained by transit police on a train platform in Oakland. Before anyone knew what was happening, an officer had shot and killed him.
2013-07-26 R PT85M Drama Kevin Durand Michael B. Jordan Chad Michael Murray Octavia Spencer The Weinstein Company
Movie Review

Fruitvale Station (2013)

In 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was detained by transit police on a train platform in Oakland. Before anyone knew what was happening, an officer had shot and killed him.

MPAA Rating: R

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FRUITS OF LABOR Michael B. Jordan gives a stirring performance as the tragic Oscar Grant in Ryan Coogler's brilliant Fruitvale Station
Image credit: RACHEL MORRISON
FRUITS OF LABOR Michael B. Jordan gives a stirring performance as the tragic Oscar Grant in Ryan Coogler's brilliant Fruitvale Station
EW's GRADE
A

Details Limited Release: Jul 26, 2013; Rated: R; Length: 85 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Kevin Durand, Michael B. Jordan, Chad Michael Murray and Octavia Spencer; Distributor: The Weinstein Company

In the wee hours of Jan. 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was detained by transit police on a train platform in Oakland. Before anyone knew what was happening, an officer had shot and killed him. Grant hadn't done anything wrong (except defend himself in an alleged fight on the train). His murder was a tragedy — and part of what was sickening was the way it reverberated alongside other killings of young African-Americans by trigger-happy law enforcers over the decades. The media, reporting on events like this one, have only fostered numbness where the outrage should be. But Ryan Coogler, the extraordinary first-time writer-director of Fruitvale Station, does more than just burn through the numbness. He puts us in touch with the full, wrenching humanity — the moral horror — of the crime as if we were seeing it for the first time.

Coogler's simple, powerful strategy is to dramatize Grant's life during the 24 hours leading up to his death. After showing cell-phone video of the actual murder, he draws his camera in close to Oscar, played by Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) as a flawed, complex ex-convict who fools around on his partner (Melonie Diaz) but loves her tenderly; sells drugs but is trying, with half a heart, to go straight; and is a good daddy to his daughter. Jordan's performance is grippingly subtle: He shows us the despair that's ruling Oscar, the street 'tude he puts on like armor, and the joy that comes out only when he's at the home of his mother (Octavia Spencer). Coogler immerses us in this life, so that when it's cut short, you won't just weep, you'll cry out in protest. Fruitvale Station is great political filmmaking because it's great filmmaking, period. A

Originally posted Jul 10, 2013 Published in issue #1268 Jul 19, 2013 Order article reprints
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Weekend of Apr 13 Box Office Source: Rentrak Corp.
Rank Title Weekend Gross* Weeks on Chart Cume. Gross* EW Grade
1. $41.4 2 $159.0 B+
2.
Rio 2
Fox
$39.0 1 $39.0 NA
3.
Oculus
Relativity
$12.0 1 $12.0 NA
4.
Draft Day
Lionsgate/Summit
$9.7 1 $9.7 B
5.
Divergent
Lionsgate/Summit
$7.5 4 $124.9 B+
6.
Noah
Paramount
$7.4 3 $84.9 C+
7.
God's Not Dead
Freestyle
$5.5 4 $40.7 NA
8.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fox Searchlight
$4.0 6 $39.5 A-
9.
Muppets Most Wanted
Walt Disney Pictures
$2.2 4 $45.7 B
10. $1.8 6 $105.2 B
* in millions