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Film about BART shooting victim generates Sundance buzz

Some critics are saying the film glorifies the victim, who was shot during a brawl in a BART station

By PoliceOne Staff

A new film depicting the life of Oscar Grant III, the man who was killed by a BART cop in a highly publicized shooting in 2009, is generating buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Fruitvale, directed by Ryan Coogler, depicts Grant as a 22-year-old man trying to straighten out his life and take care of his girlfriend and daughter after several confrontations with the law before the BART shooting, according to SFist.com.

Grant was shot in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2009 after brawling with other train passengers in Oakland.

Former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle  was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after accidentally drawing his gun instead of a TASER during the incident, which was described as a volatile and chaotic scene. 

Fruitvale tells Oscar’s story through flashbacks to his jail time and the events that led up to the shooting.

The film is being billed as Sundance’s hottest film, according to the Daily Beast.

Some critics are saying, however, that the film goes too far in glorifying Grant.

“Even if every word of Coogler's account of the last day in Grant's life held up under close scrutiny, the film would still ring false in its relentlessly positive portrayal of its subject,” wrote Geoff Berkshire of Variety.

“Best viewed as an ode to victim's rights, Fruitvale forgoes nuanced drama for heart-tugging, head-shaking and rabble-rousing."

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