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Tanya Khoury: A relevant tear-jerker
December 13, 2013
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It’s that time of year again; the Dubai Film Festival is upon us and it is in its tenth year. I can’t really tell you how many films I have seen so far but let’s just say that the specific chair in the cinema has moulded into the shape of my body…dozens of titles and lots of invigorating, talented and upcoming filmmakers make for a refreshing week.

 One of the titles that I was looking forward to seeing has been Fruitvale Station. This Ryan Coogler film has received quite a lot of praise since it premiered at Sundance and Cannes. It is based on the true story of Oscar Grant III, on the last day of his short-lived life and the events that led up to that tragic day at Fruitvale Station. On that day this young man stepped into a station that led to his life being stolen away from him quickly and unjustly.

Michael B. Jordan plays the role of Oscar and leads us through the events of that ill-fated day. In those 85 minutes we find out as much as we can about Oscar and his family, his surroundings and how things turned sour and unnecessary events took place that led to this man losing his life. The director starts the feature off with actual footage – very raw and disturbing footage that showcase exactly what happened; there are no disillusions and no embellishments, it is what actually transpired. The shock of that scene sets the tone of the story and through Jordan’s solid acting skills we are taken into Oscar’s life as we try to understand why things occur the way they do.

What strikes out about this film is the simplicity of how the story is being told, the realness into which we are sucked into Oscar’s life and how automatically our emotions are taken over. His character, his charm, his flaws, all those little things that make up a personality and all those little things that every single person can relate to, and there is no elevation of character; everyone plays there part in the most genuine way that I felt very attached to this family and started to worry about them as the story was being told. You know how this was going to end and yet there was that lingering delusional hope that there no tragedy occurred and that he and his family were going to be just fine. This is how I felt the director really portrayed the events meticulously, there is no happy ending here and Oscar Grant III lost his life due to senseless acts by the police. This should not have happened but it did and everyone involved in Oscar’s life are fighting till this day for justice to be served.

I hope more people get to see this film, not only for the story of this man’s life but for a subject – racial profiling that still sadly exists in our world till this day. It is a powerful story with powerful performances; one can only hope the families keep their strength and faith alive through things that are beyond their control. A solid 8/10 for Coogler’s first biographical drama.

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