Fruitvale Station is a drama film, written and directed in 2013. The film was based on a true story; a tragic and emotional death of Oscar Grant, a twenty-two year old man killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer, Johannes Mehserle, at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California. The film shows the last few moments of Grant’s life, which led up to this appalling event. He was shot by BART police around 2:15AM on New Year’s Day in 2009.
The filming took place in Oakland, California. Scenes were filmed at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) platform, where Grant was killed. The film includes the actual footage of the shooting, recorded by surrounding passengers on the train, on the actual date of this incident. The footage was put in to make the film as real and as lively as possible. The footage further impacted the viewers of the movie because it was an unexaggerated truth of the incident. The style of music, rap and hip-hop, was incorporated into the scenes to portray the actors’ lifestyles, living in poverty. The protagonist, Oscar Grant III, had a rough childhood and got himself in a lot of trouble, which negatively affected him, his family, and his friends. After time passed, Grant began to take control of his life, he wanted to do what is best for him and his family, and he tried to stay out of trouble. During these particular scenes, when his life was improving, the lighting was brighter, body language of the individual actors’ portrayed happiness and love.
The movie begins with actual footage of the event and information on when it occurred, which sets up the scene and the mood of the film. When the title of the film is displayed on the screen in the beginning of the movie, it has the sound effects of a moving train, hence the title of the movie. The film titles important scene locations, dates, and times, so viewers can keep up with the story plot. This benefits viewers because it prevents confusion and makes it easy to follow. The scene in the beginning of the film shows the protagonist, Oscar Grant, and his girlfriend arguing. The dark lighting sets the mood of stress, tension, sadness. Grant lights up a cigarette and the particular shot was a low-angle shot
Chapter 1 in the textbook introduces the idea of “controversial” or “proactive”. These ideas were highlighted in this movie because this event triggered emotional responses from the viewers and citizens based on their beliefs. This movie includes relatable themes such as family, poverty, and home, which viewers can be impacted from. The movie displays the idea that family will support one another and stick together, even during hardships. I feel that because this event was a real life event, many viewers were aware of the incident, and already created opinions and beliefs based on what they have seen and heard on the news or read in the newspapers in 2009. Because of this, there must have been viewer expectations when the movie came out in 2013.
All in all, this film was one of the greatest, most touching films I have watched. The way the film was produced and put together voiced a strong viewpoint and it was shared amongst the citizens of the country- Oscar Grant III’s death was tragic and unethical. I think that the actual clips of the event incorporated into the film made the film stronger. I highly recommend this film.