Fruitvale Station doesn’t mince words or time, and at 85 minutes it has scant ability to do so. Telling the story of Oscar who was shot by a police officer on New Year’s Day in the so titled Fruitvale transit station in California. The film doesn’t cover a sprawling telling of Oscar’s life from a child and the struggles he went through or how he came to be. Rather the film follows him throughout his last day on earth, the first one we meet him on, and a defining day for everybody around him.
Michael B. Jordan is pitch perfect in the role, and just continually proving why he is one of the best young actors working. He gives off by nature a tough exterior, but it’s often heavily weighed out by hist soft heart in caring for others, and helping people out beyond himself. It’s set-up of course for the what happens to him in the end, trying to put more weight on the emotions, but Jordan plays it so truthfully beforehand that it seems all the well earned.
The film was never destined to be a large budget film, nowhere close, where even it had troubles to be made at its current dollar figure. But, really this type of material shouldn’t be filmed any other way than on low budget measures, echoing the grittiness of the story in the filmmaking.
It does well to tell this story like many others surrounding an event fail to achieve. It solely focuses on this event, and the direct lead-up to it, never wandering in any other direction, everything is honed in on the one direction. It’s never really a mystery what is going to happen, even if you hadn’t been aware of the story, but the film takes no mind to take, and it still hits as hard. Much is due to Jordan’s performance, but also to the solid and real directing around him