Fruitvale Station: Fruitless
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 24, 2013
Oscar Grant was shot in the back by a BART officer in the early hours of January 1, 2009. The shooting was documented by cell phones, giving us vivid details of a horrifying event. The movie starts there and works backwards by one day, showing us how Mr. Grant lived and loved his girlfriend, his daughter, his mother, his brother and his sister. We see him trying to please these people in his life, while at the same time, struggling to survive, with little financial resources, and seemingly little tenacity to hold down a steady job. As I watched the film, I felt manipulated, rather than seduced. His ending was tragic, as was his life. With my oedipal lens, I sensed that Ryan Coogler, the writer and director, wanted the audience to feel that because of his strong attachment to his mother, he was trying to turn his life around. There is one scene which almost captured this deep motivation, but it failed. The character of Oscar felt conflicted by his relationship with his mom, but this conflict was poorly illustrated, leaving me, the audience member, to feel shallow, hardly connected with Oscar. Consequently, and in sharp contrast to “The Way, Way Back” I did not care about the main character, even though at the same time, I wanted to care. I wanted that feeling in which I was outraged that this man’s life was cut short, leaving a turn-around story unfinished. Instead, I felt nothing. So, I conclude, as the title of this post suggests, ‘Fruitvale’ was fruitless.