Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
TODAY
Latest Expendables 3 Trailer Wants To Punch Your Eyes
Bang and blame
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
27 May 2014
Insurgent Starts Shooting
Divergent sequel finds Tris a fugitive
More Movie News

RELATED REVIEWS
Fruitvale Station (2014)
Empire Star Rating
Smashed (2012)
Empire Star Rating
Raising Victor Vargas
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Cannes 2013: Fruitvale Station First Reaction
The Sundance winner rolls into town

17 May 2013  |  Written by Damon Wise  

submit to reddit

fruitvale station first review

Fruitvale Station arrived in Cannes last night fresh from its triumph at the Sundance film festival in January, where it won the Grand Jury Prize, taking the now-annual slot previously given to the likes of Precious and Beasts Of The Southern Wild. However, although it is extraordinarily well made for a debut feature and boasts a career-making performance from Chronicle's Michael B Jordan, Ryan Coogler's film doesn't quite have the same breakout potential of those other two. Both Coogler and his leading man will certainly get deserved festival attention for the rest of 2013, but it's hard to see Fruitvale Station as a commercial proposition outside of the US.

Based on a true story, the film begins with cameraphone footage of police arresting and intimidating a group of African-Americans in Oakland, California. Tensions escalate, a shot is fired, and we backtrack through 24 hours in the life of the victim, a local man named Oscar Grant (Jordan). Grant is a smalltime drug dealer with a girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and a daughter he dotes on, and after losing his job in a supermarket he realises it's time to straighten his life out. Though somewhat fictionalised, the film fleshes out Grant's relationship with his immediate family and friends, sketching a portrait of a flawed but nevertheless decent man whose potential was never realised.

Aside from Jordan there is also the excellent Octavia Spencer as Grant's long-suffering mother, whose tough love inspires Grant to shoulder his responsibilities, while Diaz, often wasted in thankless roles, gets a chance to show what she can really do here. It is, however, Jordan's show, and he presents Grant as a hugely sympathetic individual cursed with a fierce pride he can't seem to control.

When the film really hits its stride in the last 20 minutes, this is where Fruitvale Station finally becomes gripping. For the most part, sadly, it keeps our attention by dint of the huge stormcloud that hovers throughout, but despite the film's narrative limitation, it is clear that Coogler is a very talented director whose next film should be very interesting indeed.

Fruitvale Station is set for a limited release in the US come July 12.


Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Cannes 2013: Weinstein Company Showcase
From James Corden singing to Kristen Scott Thomas screaming
Disney Re-Scales Pete's Dragon
UPDATE: David Lowery in talks to direct his script

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Michel Gondry Talks Mood Indigo
Gondry on Bjork, erections and Mark Ruffalo in his pants

Everything You Need To Know About The Dragonriders Of Pern
The lowdown on Warner Bros. new fantasy sci-fi

A Pocket Guide To Game Of Thrones’ New Cast Members
Know your Doran Martell from your Nym Sand

Empire's The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Covers Are Here
Bard The Bowman or Smaug The Magnificent?

Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film
The veteran director on Timecop, Outland, 2010, Enemies Closer and more

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)