The Importance of Fruitvale Station

By: Shelby Halliman

Spoiler Alert!

Fruitvale Station is a masterful depiction of racism and police brutality in our everyday world. It is not only a powerful piece of work by Ryan Coogler, but a very important piece of work at that.

Official Poster of Fruitvale Station.

Based on a true story, this film tells the story of Oscar Grant III. Oscar was a 22-year old African American man, who was tragically shot by a police officer at Fruitvale Station in 2009. The shooting was caught on video and released to the public. As the video began to spread, many people noted the cruelty of the police officers towards these innocent black men. Oscar had a daughter and loving family that endured this tragedy as the word began to surface about Oscar’s death. As for the police officer, when describing his sentence, lenient is an understatement. The police officer was found guilty and originally scheduled to serve just two years in prison. In spite of this, the officer that was found guilty claimed that he mistook his gun for his taser, believing that it was an honest mistake. Upon his claims, the guilty police officer only served an 11-month sentence.

 

Scene from Fruitvale Station.

First and foremost, if you haven’t guess it already, I absolutely love this film! The narrative style of Ryan Coogler is truly unique. The film offers a means of simplicity, yet it is so profound. It is a good story. What makes the story even more powerful is the clips presented before and after the film. It is heart wrenching to see an innocent person be gunned down just because of his race. Furthermore, Michael B. Jordan is perfect for this part. Throughout the film, people are able to see the growth that his character goes through. He is not perfect, but at least he is trying. I found it easy to empathize with him because he is so human. His bond with his daughter is one of the most important aspects of the film, especially towards the end. I kept thinking, “oh my gosh, this girl just lost her father.” That is what really hit me. After all this, that little girl, who loved her father dearly, is now left with only the memory of him and the reminder of that fateful night.