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Fruitvale Station


Stars: Michael B Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Ariana Neal, Chad Michael Murray, Kevin Durand, Ahna O'Reilly

Director: Ryan Coogler

A well re-constructed if somewhat idealised account of the events on New Year's Eve 2008 in San Francisco that befell Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old drug peddler, ex-jailbird - and finally martyr.

Under the influence of charismatic Jordan's easy, Denzel Washington-style grin, though, it's hard not to like Oscar. In the morning he finally gets around to telling the long-suffering mother (Diaz) of his five-year-old daughter (Neal) that's he's lost his job (he's always late), takes the kid to pre-school, buys crabs and dried shrimp for the gumbo his grandmother will cook for New Year, puts a fellow-shopper, Katie (O'Reilly), in touch with Gran for advice on frying fish and befriends a stray dog that's subsequently run over.

With his friends, he roams the city, before taking the advice of his mother (Spencer) to take the underground home. On the fateful journey, he encounters an old enemy from prison days...

It's astutely done in all departments, with Jordan an engaging centre; the dread feeling of impending tragedy is well sustained too.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Altitude (The Weinstein Co). Colour by FotoKem.
84 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 01 Jun 2014