Fruitvale Station, With Parallels To Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, Opens Same Weekend As Verdict
Fruitvale Station, a film that tells the based-on-truth story of the shooting of an unarmed black man by a Caucasian police officer, rolled into select theaters this weekend, just a day before a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The unsettling timing may have helped generate buzz for the sadly (often) relevant film, which has already impressed audiences at major festivals.
The film tells the real-life story of Oscar Grant, an Oakland man who was shot and killed by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer while being restrained against a platform. The officer, Johannes Meserle, argued that the shooting was accidental, and that he had intended to fire his Taser instead. He was convicted of manslaughter, and served two years before being released on parole.
Similar to the anger over the Zimmerman verdict, communities were outraged that Meserle faced a relatively light charge and short sentence. And as Dr.Jay’s own Chris J The Genius already pointed out, critics justified the Grant shooting with much of the same character assassination that was thrown at Trayvon.
The film is the very first feature from writer-director Ryan Coogler, and stars Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Chronicle) and features Oscar winner Octavia Spencer. It won the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and played at Cannes. The film currently has received 90% positive reviews on RottenTomatoes.
The Fruitvale Station grossed over $377,000 in just seven theaters this weekend. It opens nationwide on July 26.