The year starts slow, builds to a climax, then the inevitable disappointing conclusion. But now’s the time when hope springs eternal and we might as well start the year with two auteurs.
Fruitvale launches the career of writer/director Ryan Coogler, whose Fruitvale won big at Sundance already, the audience award and the Grand Jury prize. The plot, as written by HR’s Todd McCarthy:
The sort of material that you might more readily expect to be covered in a documentary — the true story of a senseless police shooting that takes the life of yet another young urban black man — instead has been made into a powerful dramatic feature film in Fruitvale. First-time writer-directorRyan Coogler, who, at 26, is the same age his subject would have been today, puts the life of Oscar Grant onscreen with conviction that makes it clear why Grant’s killing became a cause celebre and the springboard for massive protests against police brutality in Oakland. The project’s topicality, qualities and the presence of such connected Hollywood figures as producers Forest Whitaker and Octavia Spencer, the latter of whom plays Grant’s mother, ensure that attention will be paid, and, though commercial prospects are limited, the film certainly will serve as an effective springboard for Coogler, lead actor Michael B. Jordan and others involved.
Fruitvale has a ways to go but a word up by McCarthy is surely a very good start.
Meanwhile, another young filmmaker, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell is set to make impact — it’s a tricky