Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Movie News

LATEST HEADLINES
YESTERDAY
Neil Gaiman Wants Tom Hiddleston For Sandman
Cheekbones: Check. English accent: check.
Exclusive Teaser Trailer For It Follows
David Robert Mitchell's much-hyped horror gets a first promo
First Clip From Absolutely Anything
Simon Pegg has the power
Orlando Bloom Returning To Pirates Of The Caribbean?
He reveals he's had discussions about Dead Men Tell No Tales
Adrian Noble Plans Danny La Rue Biopic
Watch it, mates
Second Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Trailer
Dench and co are back back back
The Big Lebowski Among Those Selected For The National Film Registry
That's just, like, their opinion, man
Tom Hanks Squares The Circle
Adapting Dave Eggers' novel
Pixels Posters Strike The Planet
Attack of the blocks
The Hobbit The Battle Of The Five Armies Podcast Spoiler Special #2
Featuring Thorin himself, Richard Armitage
More Movie News

RELATED NEWS
12 December 2014
New Insurgent Trailer Lands Online
What's in the box?
More Movie News

RELATED REVIEWS
Get On Up (2014)
Empire Star Rating
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

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: Empire's Interviews Of The Year
Crews! Chan! Chickens?! The chats we loved in 2014...

Gallery: Peter Jackson Prop Art: The Bigiatures
An exclusive look inside the director's secret warehouse

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

A Day In The Life Of An Orc
Three of Mordor's finest describe life in the Dark Lord’s employ

20 Great Films You (Probably) Didn't See In 2014
The underseen joys and unreleased gems of the last 12 months

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

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 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month 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)