Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
TODAY
Tom Hiddleston's Off To Skull Island
Jordan Vogt-Roberts to direct the King Kong origin tale
Into The Woods Poster Stalks Online
Be careful what you wish for
Ben Kingsley Joins Brooklyn Bridge
Brie Larson also on for new Daniel Radcliffe drama
Margaret Qualley Finds The Nice Guys
Leftovers actress joins Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe
Cara Delevingne Moves To Paper Towns
She'll star opposite Nat Wolff
Gillian Jacobs Set For Love
Judd Apatow and Lesley Arfin create a Netflix comedy
Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi spectacular
Lee Child Talks The Next Reacher Movie
Exclusive - And he reveals the title of Reacher 20!
See The World Exclusive New Interstellar Poster
We unveil the US one-sheet for Christopher Nolan's latest
Matt Damon And Paul Greengrass Reportedly Back For More Bourne
Call it The Bourne Reunion, perhaps.
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
The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

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  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)