Last day of the year

05 June 2014 | by Francine Stock

The “true story” is a regular feature of contemporary films. Effective story-telling, however, is more elusive. Fruitvale Station manages both persuasively – to the point that you wonder about an already known outcome. The fact is there in the opening sequence, a smartphone camera recording of a violent incident on the eponymous train stop in the Bay Area of San Francisco. A young black man, Oscar Grant, is held down on the platform by armed police who have hauled him and a handful of friends off the train. They are protesting and struggling to be free; the atmosphere is charged and jittery. Then a shot rings out. The film that follows is a dramatised account of the day, New Year’s Eve 2008, that led up to this event, the consequences of which would last for years,

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