Nearly every year there’s a scrappy indie flick that comes into the Sundance Film Festival and blows everyone away. All too often, though, once the film itself comes down from the high mountain air, it seems markedly less unique. Fortunately, with Ryan Coogler’s devastating Fruitvale Station, that is not the case. It plays just as well in a multiplex alongside The Wolverine as it does in the rarefied festival air.
My full review is at Film Racket; here’s part:
Nothing about the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant makes sense. For his keen, impassioned debut, writer/director Ryan Coogler avoids one of the most common mistakes seen in based-on-a-true-story movies, he doesn’t try to make it make sense. It shouldn’t, because one version of what actually happened is the first thing shown in the film. A grainy cellphone video taken from the open door of a BART train car paused at an Oakland station shows a few young black men being held down by a few white transit police; there’s a minor-looking scuffle and then a shot goes off. The momentum of those shaky images, is stuttering and randomized. When the tragic moment happens, it doesn’t feel right to happen like that. Not yet…
You can watch the trailer here: