Anything we want everyone to see, all we have to do is take out our smartphones, record, and press send to every video streaming site imaginable. What’s more interesting is what people do find more important. I’ll bet you on that on YouTube, ninety percent of all videos are either personal home videos or dumb stunts that kids try to pull off. Do we care about some failed rooftop jump? I really think we can all live without having to see little joey taking his first step. People have complained that the government has invaded their privacy too much, but do they ever think that they’ve brought it upon them selves?
We are posting more videos online each day. By putting your life online, the rest of the world is going to see your Facebook posting and think, “this guy is okay with apprehending that we know everything about him. Whatever he says, it must be important to us too”. So the short story, just be careful with what your saying, and if you are going to post something, be sure it’s something you think is important. One of the more controversial video postings led to its film adaptation, Fruitvale Station.
The background of the film concerns a famous 2009 viral video that showed two policemen using excessive force when questioning two African-American. As groups of people were recording the incident on their cell phones, an officer accidentally shot on of the men, Oscar Grant. His shooting lead to a complicated court trial and even started many peaceful and violent riots. Was this a police brutality issue? Was this a civil rights issue? A little bit of both, but I think what concerned people the most was that Oscar was not even a bad person. He was trying to celebrate New Years with his friends and he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Fruitvale Station chronicles his last day.
Oscar Grant (played by Michael B. Jordan) has had a past of prison convictions and bad habits. He has put that all behind him, wanting to impress his mother Wanda (played by Octavia Spencer). He has a girlfriend Sophia, and a young daughter. The day doesn’t go into anything dark or dramatic. It’s mostly a typical day as he’s denied a job at a grocery store and rejects a chance to sell drugs again. He’s just a man who loves his family and friends. This makes the climax shooting at the end the more tragic.
Fruitvale Station makes zero attempts to take sides. There’s no possible mention of police brutality, as it plays the officers as just them doing their jobs and an accident occurred. There’s not even much research into the guys past as it only shows two scenes of his prison years, and even there, a lot of it is his pinning to come home. This guy simply ended up where he is because of the environment he’s coming from; the gritty Bay Area of Oakland, California.
All of this account for a very powerful film. Michael B. Jordan has the merits of a gifted and likable performance, playing a man who was simply caught up in a bad moment. Though I don’t usually do this, I really feel like that this young man will go one to be a fine African-American actor up in the ranks of Jamie Fox and Forrest Whitaker. Fruitvale Station is a very carefully balanced story that could have been too much of a propaganda film about issues of race or the police’s wrongdoing, but it lands on a perfect scale of emotion and real life shooting the breeze.
I’ll give this five BART trains out of five. I guarantee that Fruitvale Station is not a very pleasant film and will probably become a famous tearjerker film. But the rest of the movie’s good nature towards Oscar shows a happy person who only wanted to see the gratifying life in everyone.