Kulani Nkuna
1 minute read
25 Apr 2014
6:30 am

Fruitvale station: Pure pathos

Kulani Nkuna

It is hard to make sense of a film such as Fruitvale Station, because it is based on actual events, tracing the life of Oscar Grant, who was shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit Station police officers.

GRIEF-STRICKEN. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays Oscar Grant's mother in 'Fruitvale Station'.
Pictures: The Weinstein Company.

The fact that on his last day on earth, Grant was well on the path to changing his life after spending some time in prison adds unbearable pathos.

The technical aspects of the film are almost secondary: this is another story of a man gunned down unnecessarily in another racially motivated killing in the US. Yet it is necessary to applaud director Ryan Coogler with his first feature film and the way he crafts the narrative leading up to Grant’s death.

The film and its lead actor, Michael B Jordan, were critically acclaimed during award season, but most of the focus was on another rising star: Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years A Slave.

Coogler’s cinematic story works well in capturing the affable Grant’s quest to be on the straight and narrow. His relationship with his girlfriend and daughter offers insight into the man before he dies tragically. The story shapes these crucial relationships, as well as those between him and his mother, sister, grandmother, friends and even strangers.

The pace of the film and the cinematography tell a story of a young man making the most of his environment in Oakland, California. It is New Year’s Eve and hope is in the air – despite the challenges he faces.

This is a moving film that tugs at the heartstrings.