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Sometimes things simply come together. A compelling story, a good and effective approach and some nice performances by a mostly young cast. It all makes "Fruitvale Station" a very powerful and effective movie, based on a true story.

Well, I guess that by now everybody already knows all about Oscar Grant and his faith, especially after this movie but that doesn't really 'spoil' anything. After all, the movie is more about the lead up and build up to the tragic event.

The movie isn't just a cold and distant telling of events but one that sucks you in with its storytelling and character development. I actually love how they treated the main character and how he got portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. Sure, they show him as a good kid at heart and take some liberties to let the character come across as a more sympathetic one at parts but at the same time they also aren't afraid to show him as a punk and liar, who occasionally got himself into trouble, including with the law. I actually strongly do feel that they managed to find and create a good balance for its main character, which makes him a very 'human' one, complete with all his flaws, who at the same time is also a very likable person, that you want to see succeed and start to feel attached to.

I actually do feel that in most ways this is actually a very 'neutral' movie. This easily could have turned into a movie about a 'black man's struggles' in today's society and one that showed how everyone was against him and nothing was going his way, despite his hard- and best efforts and intentions. It would have made things forced and exaggerated to have to watch and maybe even melodramatic.

The movie definitely isn't pointing any fingers in my opinion and it isn't necessarily one that's trying very hard to make a statement. Not saying that it isn't making a statement at all and this movie doesn't have any messages in it but it just isn't ever forcing anything onto you, like some other dramatic movies of this sort often tend to do.

It's a movie that feels deliberately 'small' and close to its characters. It's a very basic and yet realistic and effective feeling movie, due to its storytelling approach and visual style. It doesn't use any fancy tricks or relies on clich├ęs to ever tell its story with. It's a raw, humble and very straightforward movie and that's why it all times is such a great and compelling one to watch.

It's all a real great accomplishment by young and first time director and writer Ryan Coogler. Both the story and the approach to it make this movie a very effective one, regardless whether or not if you're familiar with the true story already.

Simply a great movie that everybody should see!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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