26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A small but very important movie,
This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
Living in the Bay area one could not have avoided the story of Oscar Grant, and his totally unnecessary tragedy.
The story of him being shot by a BART police officer while face down on the ground at an Oakland BART station, on New Years day 2009 sparked a series of riots there.
Happily, a movie has been made which brings the situation more fully to light, and it raises questions about, for example, profiling, civil rights for black people, and the simple issue of justice. Around the same time the movie was released the George Zimmerman trial was in progress and decided. The acquittal of George Zimmerman on the grounds of self defense in the slaying of Trayvon Martin sparked outrage, and national protest. Unfortunately, one of those protests was in Oakland where there was property damage and injuries inflicted on innocent people.
May I say, the movie does not start out promising, it is low budget, and looks it, however as it went along I was totally transported by it knowing its dreadful end. Some of the storytelling elements are clunky and obviously manipulative. Undoubtedly, this was done to make the character look more sympathetic, but the story could have achieved the same effect with less manipulation.
Told in a non linear fashion we are not always sure where we are in the scheme of things. Oscars has faults, and the movie does not attempt to hide them. If it played up only those faults, there would be a danger of stereotyping. Go too far the other way and it's manipulative. Yes, he had substance issues, yes he did time, yes he lost his job because he was unreliable. But these are not the only things that define a character. The director has to tread carefully in depicting a real persons tragedy both to honor Oscar Grant, and to not further wound an already hurting family and community.
I felt a few things were overboard. Visiting a store, he sees a white woman buying fish for a party, and he calls his grandmother to ask her advice, and then puts the woman on the phone to her. He sees a dog injured in a hit and run at the side of the road, and cares for it.
What is compelling though is Octavia Spensers performance as his mother. Surely, this is deserving of at east an Oscar nomination if not the Oscar itself. Here is a very topical theme, in which there is enormous public interest.
As for Oscar himself, it does not matter what his record is, he was an innocent person returning to Oakland having spent New Years Evening in San Francisco. He did nothing to deserve that fate. There was no reason why one should draw a weapon and fire it on someone lying face down. The policeman Mehserle said he mistook his gun for a tazer. But why even pull a tazer when someone is already handcuffed?
I have to admit that certain scenes in the movie were very powerful, towards the end, where Octavia Spenser playing the mother really excelled, and it's through her performance and the performance of the girlfriend and how they respond that we get the sense of the true tragedy of Oscar Grant.
Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and is currently free, and the family settled a $28 million lawsuit against the city for $2.8 million.
I found this movie to be emotionally powerful, and moving, and a very important movie to see. A few years a movie about race relations called Crash won the Academy Award for best Picture, and I hope that this movie will be fully recognised for it's timeliness and its contribution to the ongoing narrative. And let's not forget Oscar.
Given its emotional weight it is not a movie I would recommend for everyone. If the subject matter interest you I think you will find it to be powerful. I think you will like and I hope this was helpful.
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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 27, 2013 9:10:30 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Oct 27, 2013 10:38:37 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2013 1:26:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2013 1:27:32 PM PDT
Find someone else to insult.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 7:38:02 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2013 12:14:15 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 9:23:49 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 18, 2013 6:56:37 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 11:02:42 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2013 11:42:31 AM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 11:28:10 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 18, 2013 6:56:58 PM PST]
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 11:33:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2013 11:34:18 AM PST
Real American says:
I have to say one more thing. This is not YOUR comments section. It is anyone's who happens to want to comment. One more thing: You are wrong in your review. OG was NOT handcuffed when he was shot. If you would read the account in the Chron, you would know this. To persist in telling this lie is not right, and I'm calling you out on it. I hope you will find enough integrity in you to retract that part of your review.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2013 12:10:24 PM PST
Why could you not articulate the SF Chronicle's coverage in your earlier comments without getting into name calling, and accusations? I went by what I saw in the movie which depicts one version of the event, and the Chronicle which later depicts another, and for the avoidance of any ambiguity have removed the words 'in handcuffs.'
From Wikipedia: "Initially there was disagreement about whether Grant was handcuffed before he was shot. Court filings by the district attorney's office say that Grant's hands were behind his back and that he was "restrained and unarmed" but do not say he was handcuffed. Mehserle voiced his fear that Grant was "going for his waistband," where weapons are often kept. In addition, the day after the shooting, BART spokesman Jim Allison said that Grant was not restrained when he was shot, and multiple witnesses testified that Grant refused to give up his hands for handcuffing prior to the shooting. The family's claim against BART stated that Grant was handcuffed only after he was shot."
Whether he was in handcuffs or not, he was unarmed and lying face down on the ground when he was fatally shot. Whatever way this is sliced this is still a crime, unless one is a racist as you showed in your earlier deleted review, which you have since reposted in a modified form.
Now kindly stop following me.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2014 12:17:58 AM PST
Klorg Lork says:
Jeesey petes. I see you stirring it up with every favorable review of this movie on here. Get a life.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2014 6:15:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2014 6:15:38 AM PST
Real American says: