Tragedy at Fruitvale Station

Ron Koeberer / Weinstein Co.

The first films to feature Oscar Grant were shocking amateur documentaries made by passengers on a train that left San Francisco in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009. Trapped in limbo at Oakland's Fruitvale station while Bay Area Rapid Transit officers confronted a group of young men accused of fighting on the train, bystanders pulled out their phones as Grant--young, black and talking back--was pushed facedown on the platform and shot in the back by a cop.

The vibrant Fruitvale Station (July 26), writer-director Ryan Coogler's assured and evenhanded debut, re-creates the 22-year-old victim's final day with an aura of...

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