Director: Ryan Coogler (debut)
Written By: Ryan Coogler
Produced by: Forest Whitaker
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray
Plot: A day-in-the-life character study of Oscar Grant III, leading up to the 2009 New Years Day shooting at Fruitvale (BART) Station in Oakland, California.
I read about a lot of movies and I watch a lot of movies. It’s been a long time since I can remember where I went in without knowing anything, the last one was probably ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in early 2009. I saw that movie by myself in theatres like this one, and I’ve noticed that when you go to the movies by yourself you are so in touch with the rest of the theatre audience. This is the saddest I’ve ever felt after seeing a movie in theatres and the rest of the audience seemed to agree.
I want to be clear that this was a very positive moviegoing experience, and I would recommend this movie to anyone, it is one of the best pictures this year.
The performances are great across the board. While the movie mainly functions as a character study their is excellent supporting work particularly from Octavia Spencer who plays the mother of the main character, Oscar Grant . There is also solid work from Melonie Diaz and perpetual sleazeball Kevin Durand. The direction of the film aims for sentimentality with a character that is at various times hard to like and difficult to relate to, but with an affectionate and charismatic performance from actor Michael B. Jordan these emotions are earned. I’ve never seen a theatre so solemn after the ending of a movie, but I’ve never been to the Bytowne theatre before so maybe they’re always like that.
In terms of straight filmmaking there isn’t much to say. This is minimalistic style and the movie has no other intentions or purpose other than bringing the true-life story to your intention. Movie enthusiasts be warned there is no outlying message here. You’ll be brought into the theatre by the glowing reviews and asked to watch what is one of the best films of the year, and after the credits roll your left beyond a sad story without much to say about it.
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