‘Fruitvale Station’ on Netflix

Fruitvale Station embraces simplicity to remind us of the human being behind the news story. 22-year-old Oscar Grant was killed in an unprovoked shooting by BART officers as a station stop on early New Year’s Day 2009.

Ryan Coogler’s film accomplishes what so many films fail to do: put us in touch with the life that was ended that night. Michael B. Jordan plays Grant, a single father and drug dealer trying to get his life together, as neither saint nor a criminal, and most importantly not simply a victim. He’s a person with a life, a family, friends, people who love him and people he loves, and the very ordinariness of his day leading up to his death, with mistakes and decisions both good and bad, and the laid-back, observational filmmaking draws us into his existence in a way that may allow you forget about history and invest in his future, one that will never be.

It won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at Sundance last year and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards: Best First Feature, Best Male Lead for Jordan, and Best Supporting Female for Melonie Diaz, who plays his girlfriend and the mother of his son.

Now available on Netflix. Queue it up!

About Sean Axmaker

Sean Axmaker is a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, The Seattle Weekly, Keyframe, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org). He was a film critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for nine years and a longtime home video columnist for IMDb and MSN Movies, and his work has appeared in Indiewire, Today.com, The Stranger, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, Filmfax, Psychotronic Video, and "The Scarecrow Video Guide." You can find links to all of this and more on his shamelessly self-promoting blog at http://www.seanax.com/

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