Fruitvale Movie Review: Film About Oakland Man Killed by BART Police Shines in Sundance 2013


The Sundance Film festival in Park City, Utah, is arguably the most well-known film festival on the planet. Since 1978, this festival has served as a launching pad for numerous successful films, and come award season, many award winners. With actor Robert Redford serving as it's chairperson, the festival has become synonymous with quality and daring filmmaking.

Of all the numerous films released this year, three particular films caught my attention. One involves a pairing of actors who are reuniting for a third time, another about the real life D.C. sniper shootings, and one last film about the shooting of a young African American man in Oakland, CA. Sundance is symbolic for the career renewal, as well as the beginnings of a career in filmmaking.

1) Fruitvale:

Fruitvale marks the debut of writer/director Ryan Coogler. It's the story of the last day of Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by BART police officers in Oakland, CA on New Year's Day, 2009. The story itself takes place in a day, with Oscar trying to work out details of his life. Will he get his old job back? He spends time during the day with his girlfriend and daughter, never dreaming that his life was hours from ending. The film also weaves in Oscar Grant's time spent in prison. His life is far from perfect. This film marks the beginning of the career of Ryan Coogler.

2) Before Midnight:

Before Midnight is the third pairing of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy playing would be lovers, Jesse and Celine. Why is this film important? While the previous installments, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, were never award winners, they showcased the talents of Ethan Hawke and his delicious chemistry with Julie Delpy.

In 1995's Before Sunrise, Hawke and Delpy first encounter each other on a train in Europe, painfully aware of the fact that they will likely only spend one night together before parting. And in 2004's Before Sunset, the pair are reunited in Paris nine years after their first meeting. Jesse and Celine reconnect, but their time together is brief. Finally in Before Midnight, Jesse and Celine meet again in Greece. But life has brought them complications, as they are in their 40's now. This film showcases both Hawke and Delpy at their finest, as star-crossed lovers.

3) Blue Caprice:

Blue Caprice marks the return of the remarkable Isaiah Washington. Having had a stalled career for some time, one can hope that this film turns his star around. This movie is based on the real life 2002 D.C. sniper shootings. Washington plays John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind behind the D.C. sniper shootings, who takes teenager Lee Boyd Malvo, played brilliantly by Tequan Richardson, under his wing. It's gritty, real, and the fact that it is a true story only makes it that more gripping. Here's to hoping that Blue Caprice gives Isaiah Washington's career a renewed vigor, since word is he packs a powerful punch in this movie.