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Michael B. Jordan gives a “Major Performance,” Edelstein says

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Fruitvale Station is about to land with major critics. The first one out of the gate, New York Mag’s David Edelstein, who writes:

Jordan gives a major performance. His Oscar is not a wholly admirable man. His motor runs fast; he acts before he thinks; he’s quick to get riled up. But he’s trying to grow up. He reaches out to strangers. He’s a dutiful son to an attentive (but easily fed up) mother (Octavia Spencer). He wins you over in an early scene: While driving, he calls his mom, who asks if he’s talking on a headset. He says yes—a lie. Then he pulls over and slides the phone over his ear into his tight cap.

Oscar inhabits a very public culture, an interdependent village of friends and family. What Coogler—in his first film—does harrowingly well is show how that village is full of dangerous corners, how every encounter has the potential to get ugly fast. It’s no one in particular’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault. Police are unnervingly ubiquitous. Watching Fruitvale Station, I thought of the “stop and frisk” policy of Mayor Bloomberg, who—no matter what you think of him—has an empathy gap. He doesn’t understand the cumulative effect of the presumption of guilt on people who already feel disenfranchised.

The end is as terrible as you fear—but it always feels preventable, not inevitable. Here are African-American men who’ve endured enough mistreatment and cops who rather than defuse a tense situation seem eager to escalate it. No one will let anything go. And so it goes. Fruitvale Station will rock your world—and, if the life of Oscar Grant means anything, compel you to work to change it.

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6 Comments

  1. July 8, 2013

    I’ve purposely not refreshed my memory about the events. As a result, the trailer had my stomach tightening right from the beginning. You just know that something is going to go horribly wrong. It looks great if very disturbing can be called great.

  2. smoothcriminal
    July 8, 2013

    LOVED him ever since the Wire (where’s Wallace man, where’s Wallace?!), and FNL and Parenthood. He killed it in Chronicle in a very simple part, so I can’t wait to see what he does with a part this central and meaty!

  3. John Oliver
    July 8, 2013

    I’m so happy for Michael. I’ve followed him since he was on All My Children. An Oscar nomination would be great.

  4. Dorian Banks
    July 8, 2013

    I can’t wait to see this! Very talented guy, and deserves all of the attention he’s already getting for this film!!

  5. Joao Mattos
    July 8, 2013

    I only will have the oportunity to see this movie next September. But as I already wrote that before: this young man’s acting on a single episode of “Cold Case” (“Wunderkind”, a 2007) makes me sure that he will be a major talent that deserves all the attention.

  6. lenka73
    July 10, 2013

    if FRUITVALE STATION is a Contender, I hope Jordan won’t be overlooked!

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