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Fish Tank DVD reviews

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Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:08 am

http://www.moviemail-online.co.uk/film/dvd/Fish-Tank/

Andrea Arnold, 2009
Fish Tank

Director Andrea Arnold's follow-up to Red Road is an unflinching and absorbing tale of a teenage girl looking for escape. Emma Paterson takes a look.

In her widely acclaimed follow-up to the umbrous Red Road, Andrea Arnold brings a delicate lyricism to the social realist tradition of British film. The result is a tender, patient portrait of stunted working-class lives and the quiet efforts to escape them.

At the centre of the drama is fifteen-year-old Mia (Kate Jarvis), misanthropic, friendless and finding solace only in her love of street dance. Buoyed by the transitory freedom this offers, Mia practises her routines in an abandoned council-estate flat, and momentarily transcends the disaffection of her domestic milieu. When Mia’s mother brings home a charismatic new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), his ambiguous enthusiasm for Mia’s dancing signals the beginning of a developing intimacy.

The absorbing, laggardly pace of Arnold’s film grants her the narrative space for rich, intimate characterisation, and in a dilatory fashion, builds to a climactic scene of revelation and near-tragedy that feels entirely plausible despite the sheer unexpectedness of its arrival. In Fish Tank, Arnold has created a film where the optimism may be hushed, but the skill is nothing short of deafening.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:30 am

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jan/16/dvd-blu-ray-new-releases-reviews

This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases

* Phelim O'Neill
* The Guardian, Saturday 16 January 2010

Katie Jarvis, the star of Fish Tank Photograph: PA
Fish Tank
DVD, Artificial Eye

Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank is very much in the UK's lineage of social realist dramas. As with the works of Tony Richardson, through Ken Loach and Alan Clarke, Fish Tank presents, or rather captures, the world warts and all – even going as far as being filmed in the more TV-like aspect ratio of 1.33:1 to avoid any accidental glamour that widescreen might have delivered. The situations here are familiar to any follower of kitchen-sink drama but the settings and language have been updated, and it's in these details that Arnold really shows her talent. Mia (Katie Jarvis) is an argumentative and bored Essex teenager who dreams of becoming a dancer – her lonely practice sessions in a vacant council flat are her only real moments of calm. It's easy to see why she's so aggressive, with her limited opportunities and her single mother constantly chipping away at her. Her mum's new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), is the only one to give her any time but their relationship presents a minefield neither can hope to traverse safely. Newcomer Jarvis holds the film together admirably. Her performance is far from showy, and despite her character's regular flare-ups, she's as convincing and nuanced in the moments of quiet, allowing the film to be more Ken Loach and less Kidulthood. It's a deceptively simple film. Scenes, like Connor's arrival or Mia's dance audition, are the life-changing events you'd expect them to be – but not in the way you'd think. Life can be like that. The DVD also contains Arnold's excellent, Oscar-winning short film, Wasp.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:06 am

http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/dvd/Fish+Tank-6244.html

* DVD
* Fish Tank DVD

* Currently 4/5 Stars.

Fish Tank DVD

Wednesday (13th) 14:23

Live, love and give as good as you get as “The Best British film of the year” (Total Film) and winner of the Cannes Jury Prize, Fish Tank is released on DVD by Artificial Eye on 25 January 2010.

This thought provoking drama makes essential viewing for today’s aspirational youth and parents.

Academy Award-winning writer and director Andrea Arnold’s (Wasp, Red Road), outstanding screenplay and direction received one of Fish Tank’s 8 British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations, along with Katie Jarvis’s stunning debut performance for Best Newcomer.

Shot entirely on location in and around the tower blocks of Essex, Fish Tank takes a long hard look at the struggles and challenges, dreams and aspirations facing teenagers today.

By daring to expose the gritty fish tank reality and vicious circles of life on a council estate, Arnold achieves a hard hitting realism that is unsettlingly refreshing.

The DVD includes Arnold’s Academy Award winning short film WASP, set amongst an estate in Dartford where single mum of four Zoe (Natalie Press – Red Road, 50 Dead Men Walking) encounters her ex-boyfriend Dave (Danny Dyer – Dead Man Running) who asks her out on a date.

Scared that he wouldn’t be interested in her if he knew she had 4 kids, she lies to him which only adds to the drama.

Initially full of Essex cheek and charm, Arnold complements her inspiring masterpiece with a startling breakthrough performance from talented newcomer Katie Jarvis, (Best British Performance, Edinburgh International Film Awards), who was talent spotted at Tilbury Train Station for her feisty and independent nature.

An outstanding performance from the increasingly in demand Michael Fassbender (300, Hunger, Inglourious Basterds) and BAFTA-nominee Kierston Wareing (Ken Loach’s It's a Free World) create a triangular struggle with heartbreaking consequences.

Follow the wayward life of the misunderstood Mia (Jarvis), a volatile 15 year old who is always in trouble and has become excluded from school and outcast by her peers.

It’s a surprise when one hot summer’s day her mum brings home a mysterious stranger called Connor (Fassbender), who turns all their lives upside down. But is he too good to be true?

The camera rarely leaves Mia’s side as she fights, feigns and forges her way through life on an estate with her young mum and fiery little sister Tyler, played by 12 year old Rebecca Griffiths who makes her superb film debut.

The pseudo-documentary style of Arnold's camerawork gives Fish Tank a realistic feel, making it impossible not to respect Mia as a modern day teenage heroine – a believable character who shows passion, ambition, bravery, insecurity and independence throughout.

The whole film breathes originality and with a strong, vibrant soundtrack that represents the moods and emotions of the characters, Fish Tank has Andrea Arnold’s raw British style of social drama stamped all over it. Out on DVD in January, Fish Tank mustn’t be missed.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:48 am

http://www.puremovies.co.uk/reviews/fish-tank/

Fish Tank
Reviews > DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

2009 | Drama | Artificial Eye

Director: Andrea Arnold

Staring: Charlotte Collins, Harry Treadaway, Jason Maza, Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Michael Fassbender

PM rating: ★★★★½

Written by Suki Ferguson

Latest Reviews

On paper, Fish Tank looks as if it will be one of those worthy British films that critics fawn over whilst also leaving the majority of the film-viewing public somewhat cold. Andrea Arnold, who wrote and directed this feature, has said that she finds the work of Ken Loach inspiring; she even borrowed one of his casting tactics in employing a non-actor in a lead role. Perhaps I’m wary as a result of watching Loach’s horribly depressing 2002 social awareness film Sweet Sixteen, in which a Scottish teenager living on a council estate is predictably unable to escape a miserable fate. Since Fish Tank can be described as a film about an Essex teenager living on a council estate in only marginally merrier circumstances, I don’t think my apprehension prior to seeing it was too misplaced.

Happily, Fish Tank is not your usual relentlessly ‘gritty’ fare. In it, teenagers are allowed to be funny as well as obnoxious, and foul-mouthed tweens are almost as endearing as they are symbolic of a morally bankrupt society. We follow Mia (played by Katie Jarvis, the teen plucked from obscurity), a moody fifteen year old who prefers Glaswegian kisses to the French kind and spends her time trying to steal off the local travellers. At home on the estate, Mia spars with her reluctant mother Joanna, who gives her two daughters little more than an encyclopaedic knowledge of swearing and a palpable sense of being in the way.

Mia’s hostility to the world in general is interrupted unexpectedly by the arrival of her mother’s latest boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender). From the minute he strolls shirtless into the kitchen, Connor exudes a charismatic self-confidence that piques insecure Mia’s curiosity. He quickly integrates himself into the family, adopting a quasi-fatherly role towards Joanna’s daughters that both girls evidently crave. The clash between Connor’s happy-go-lucky ways and the family’s cynical negativity results in comic scenes which win the audience’s attention, as well as Mia’s affection. Amid all the laughter and sunshine, however, tensions begin to develop. Just how fatherly/daughterly is the relationship between Mia and Connor? At what point does a thirty-something man go from being paternal to being…less admirable? The film is always shot from Mia’s perspective, and the audience remains as clueless as she does throughout the narrative. I found myself wondering, is it unfair to assume the worst of a man simply because of an apparently innocent tendency to mix intimacy in with kindly solicitude?

To answer such questions would mar Fish Tank’s strongest feature: the insistent build-up of tension throughout the story. This tension only breaks in the final third of the film, by which point I felt that slightly tighter editing of shots intended to establish atmosphere would have been a wise move. As it is, Fish Tank runs to a full two hours and the final minutes are not quite as gripping as what preceded them. However, this minor criticism is the only one I can offer.

The acting was uniformly brilliant, and Fassbender in particular stood out, due to his deft handling of a morally ambiguous character. I came away from Fish Tank feeling that Arnold had succeeded in bringing warmth and complexity to the traditionally harrowing template that films made in Britain often adhere to. Fish Tank is proof that British films can address serious issues and offer laugh-out-loud moments, all without resorting to Richard Curtis’s tried-‘n’-tired posh dimwits formulae. As such, it is a revelation. Andrea Arnold’s skill at producing such a satisfyingly tragic-comic work makes her, in my eyes, perhaps the only peer to Danny Boyle in the UK film industry. And having seen just how well Boyle’s style of filmmaking translates across the world, I can think of no higher accolade!

Last edited: 16th January 2010
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:17 pm

http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/film/810346-fish-tank-is-the-best-british-film-of-2009

Fish Tank is the Best British film of 2009
Fish Tank Artificial Eye, 15, £15.99

Hands down the Best British film of 2009, this Bafta-nominated, Cannes Jury Prize winner rewards rewatching.

Set on a sunny Essex estate, it’s the anti-X Factor story of Mia (sensational non-professional Katie Jarvis), a mouthy, aggressive 15-year-old who wants to be a dancer.

She lives with her mum (Kierston Wareing), her dog Tennants and her equally mouthy little sister (Rebecca Griffiths), whose idea of affection is: ‘I like you – so I’ll kill you last.’

Boasting more shouting than the EastEnders omnibus, their family is further unbalanced when mum brings home a dishy new fella (Hunger’s Michael Fassbender).

As Mia struggles to untangle her need for a dad with her yearnings for something more, you could cut the sexual tension with a knife.

Wonderfully funny yet profoundly uncomfortable, this is no middleclass tourist goggle.

Oscarwinning writer/director Andrea Arnold is writing about what she knows.

Think Flashdance for the Asbo generation.

Extras: Arnold’s Oscar-winning short, Wasp.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:38 pm

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/41689/fish-tank/

Fish Tank
IFC Films // R // January 15, 2010
Review by Brian Orndorf | posted January 14, 2010

A fantastic symphony of characters making poor decisions, "Fish Tank" is a depiction of innocence lost, set against a common backdrop of working-class England, with its claustrophobic habitats and perpetual ambiance of hostility. It's a dynamite film, but I was caught watching with eyes-through-fingers a few times, fearful moments of exquisite tension would devolve into a Catherine Breillat-style shock-value spectacle. Thankfully, director Andrea Arnold has better taste, making her feature not a depressive cage, but a maze of behavioral patterns and damage with some form of light at the end of the tunnel.

15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a lost girl struggling with her negligent mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing), a filthy home, and the images of hip-hop dancing salvation force fed to her through television. Into the family comes Connor (Michael Fassbender, "Inglourious Basterds"), Joanne's latest fling, who takes a shine to Mia and her prickly disposition. Mia, curious about the attention, becomes infatuated with Connor, unsure how to process her newfound sexual response. Though she stumbles upon a friend in age-appropriate Billy (Harry Treadaway), Mia finds Connor's advances more persuasive, putting her in yet another precarious situation while the rest of her life continues to slip out of control.

Though not quite as feral as the 1999 Palme d'Or winner "Rosetta," "Fish Tank" submits a similar sort of impetuous, teenaged, hand-held screen energy, tracking an unpredictable character as she maneuvers through a series of obstacles while trapped in an impossible economic situation. The setting here is England and its lost generation: a track-suited teen nation raised on lousy American hip-hop, unobtainable displays of extravagance found on television, and brimming with chipped-tooth discontent brought on by easily attained alcohol and an absence of parental interest. We've been here before, but the general hold of sympathetic study in Arnold's direction is riveting, taking the audience into areas of conduct that are uncomfortable to watch, yet vital to the overall understanding of Mia and her well-oiled rage.

"Fish Tank" is a generally silent, semi-verite journey that follows Mia as she stomps around her community, put off by her peers as she pieces together a dream for a better life. Her golden ticket out of town is dance, which she practices inside an abandoned apartment, worried to reveal her passion for fear it will be taken away. She picks fights with the locals girls, and grows fixated on a horse chained in Billy's yard -- a symbolic figure of forecast that Mia takes to heart. She's a complicated girl with wrath as her one and only exterior speed, yet Connor brings something out of her that's rarely allowed the light of day: vulnerability. However, he's a predator of unknown origins, with Arnold plucking a devastating string of tension pulled taught between them; it's an unnerving sexual energy the picture plays superbly without feeling the need to be lascivious about it. It's a fresh sensation of curiosity and urge handed to a bewildered Mia, whose only role model appears to be Joanne, a boozy, easy blonde who looks roughly 10 years older than her daughter.

"Fish Tank" visits bleak psychological spaces, and while it's a good 15 minutes too long, the lasting effect of the film is felt vividly through Jarvis's raw performance. She's a caustically metered, wide-eyed observer that acts as the ideal glue for Arnold as the director assembles the chilling pieces of this shattered household together. It's a pungent display of teenage life, but "Fish Tank" achieves sublime emotional candor, gripping tightly with an electric cinematic hold. It makes the unthinkable captivating.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:27 pm

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/film/2830035/Heroes-DVD-will-help-wounded-troops.html

FISH TANK

(15)

An intriguing glimpse into a world where everyone's name seems to be the c-word, every pet is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and mums and daughters look roughly the same age.

Director Andrea Arnold's gritty coming-of-age flick focuses on troubled teen Mia and her lonely existence in an Essex council estate.

Newcomer Katie Jarvis is outstanding in the lead role which she landed after a casting director spotted her arguing with her boyfriend at a railway station.

When Mia's fresh-faced single mum Joanne brings home a mysterious toyboy called Connor, they share an instant connection. While the handsome Irishman (Michael Fassbender) first seems like an ideal addition to the family, his practised charm masks a sinister secret.

Mia gradually comes to realise the truth about the charismatic stranger who has worked his way into her dysfunctional family life.

This is a grim portrayal of Broken Britain, but thankfully not one without hope.

Extras include Andrea Arnold's Oscar-winning short film, Wasp, set on a Dartford housing estate.

Rating: Five stars out of five
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:30 am

http://filmdramas.suite101.com/article.cfm/uk-film-review-fish-tank

UK Film Review: Fish Tank
Katie Jarvis Amazes

Jan 30, 2010 Rhys Bendix-Lewis
Andrea Arnold's follow up to Red Road is a tough and moving film with an extraordinary central performance from newcomer Katie Jarvis.

Andrea Arnold continues her string of award winning films with Fish Tank. The 2009 Cannes Jury Prize winning film is the second feature from the British filmmaker after Red Road picked up the same award in 2006. Fish Tank plays out like a pseudo-sequel to her 2005 Oscar winning short Wasp. It's an uncompromising look into a young woman's life, full of energy, fight and passion.
The Story of Fish Tank

Fifteen year old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is an angry loner living on an Essex council estate with her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and little sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). Life is disrupted with the arrival of Joanne's new boyfriend, the charming and too-good-to-be-true Connor (Michael Fassbender).
A Brilliant Katie Jarvis as Mia

As the story goes, Katie Jarvis was spotted by a casting agent while arguing with her boyfriend at Tilbury Train Station. She'd never acted before, and possibly would never have done if it wasn't for that serendipitous argument. It's the sort of rags to riches luck filled narrative that would never be present in an Andrea Arnold film. Fish Tank is no Slumdog Millionaire. While it's difficult to know where Jarvis ends and Mia begins, what is certain is that Arnold and Jarvis have created one of the most magnetic and fascinating characters of the year.

What makes the Mia character so real is that she's a mixture of complexity and simplicity. She's aggressive and violent, though this is clearly born out of self preservation. She wants attention, yet pushes people away. She's disliked by virtually everyone and doesn't seem to care. Dancing is the only thing that takes her away from her difficult life. Sneaking into an abandoned flat, she practices her hip-hop dance moves that she's observed from the internet and music videos. Dancing is her escape -- not as a means to an end but in the moment. When she dances she's free.
Beyond Social Realism

To say Fish Tank is about Mia undervalues how much she's in the film. Mia is in almost every shot. She is the film. At times it looks like a film crew are following a real person such is the immediacy of the scenes and rawness of emotion. Nothing in the first half of the film feels planned. It's cinéma vérité at its most successful. Arnold opted to present the film in a 4:3 ratio. Initially distracting, the narrowness of the frame soon reflects Mia's limited possibilities. There's a poetry to the subjective camera work that goes beyond social realism. It allows a glimpse into Mia's soul. She's a fighter, and in her own way an innocent dreamer who's too big to be confined by such a narrow frame.

Everything changes when Connor arrives. Fassbender, in another great metamorphosis, oozes charisma and Mia is immediately attracted to him. With no mention of her biological father, it's unclear whether Mia's desire is for a boyfriend or a father. There's great complexity in Mia and Connor's relationship, and as they get closer things get more sinister.

While the first half of the film develops organically and a feeling of restrained chaos is felt around Mia, the second half doesn't impress as much, becoming more episodic. Events become more contrived and plot heavy, even taking a turn into thriller territory at one point. The quality is always good, however some of the realism is lost, creating a disconnect to Mia. This is very disappointing given all the good work before it. Despite these flaws, though, Fish Tank is an impressive piece of work. It's much more hopeful than expected, and it inspires through it central character, who, to paraphrase Fish Tank's tagline, gives as good as she gets.
The Verdict

An astonishing performance from Katie Jarvis and a great first half can't mask the contrivances of the second. (3 out of 5)
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:49 pm

http://www.filmdetail.com/archives/2010/01/27/dvd-fish-tank/


DVD: Fish Tank

by Ambrose Heron on 27/01/2010

Fish Tank (Artificial Eye) is writer-director Andrea Arnold’s second feature-length film, and another deeply impressive piece of work after her Oscar winning short Wasp (2005) and Red Road (2006).

It is the tale of a teenage girl named Mia (Katie Jarvis) who lives with her mother and younger sister on an poor Essex housing estate.

Frustrated with her life and lack of options, things begin to change when she strikes up a friendship with her mother’s new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).

Unlike many British films which feature aristocrats in period costume or gangsters who swear a lot, this takes what seems like humdrum material and does something really special with it.

Central to the film is the debut performance of newcomer Katie Jarvis who is magnetic in the central role, conveying the emotions of a disaffected teenager with remarkable clarity and sensitivity.

The story picks up with Mia having been expelled from school and spending her time drinking and practising her dancing in a derelict flat near to her family’s council flat home.

With her life spiralling out of control, things don’t look like getting any better when her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend named Connor – but he seems like the kind of decent and encouraging person who can offer Mia hope and a way out of her life.

Part of the strength of Fish Tank is the way in which it subverts expectations of this kind of material. There are no patronising clichés of working class life and the material rested firmly on the two central characters, both of who are played with perfect pitch by Jarvis and Fassbender.

The final third of the film uncoils with a slow burning sense of unease as it is very hard to tell what is going to happen and the depiction of poverty in modern day Britain is sobering without ever being heavy handed.

Interestingly, Arnold and her cinematographer Robbie Ryan have opted to shoot the film in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio (so the frame is almost square) which is a rare sight in modern cinema.

Gus Van Sant’s Elephant (2003) is the only film in recent years that I can remember using it, but it gives this a distinctive visual feel and tone which takes it into another place.

Proof that Andrea Arnold is currently one of the most accomplished directors working in Britain today, the film could see her move on to a bigger canvas and even more acclaim sooner rather than later.

Frustratingly, there isn’t a Blu-ray release at the moment (maybe Artifcial Eye’s budget’s are stretched?) but the DVD comes with the following extras:

* Andrea Arnold’s Oscar®️ winning short film ‘WASP’ starring Natalie Press & Danny Dyer
* Gallery

Fish Tank is out now from Artificial Eye
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:47 pm

http://summerday.hautetfort.com/archive/2010/02/04/fish-tank.html

05/02/2010

Fish Tank [Andrea Arnold, with Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Michael Fassbender ... on dvd]

Initially we find Mia, 15, who lives in a city around London with his mother and sister. Deschooled, insolent, she spends her days dancing and wandering along the roads. When not find the words to express it is by insulting others or to force butting. During the first few minutes I struggled to get into this marginal world rocked by the hip-hop. And then two new elements are integrated into the narrative: a horse lost in the suburbs, as Mia tries to liberate. Then, the new lover of his mother who is surprisingly sweet and caring within the family crying more than she really communicates. And then the movie becomes interesting because it has no idea where the script will take us, which is quite rare, because unfortunately we see too often come intrigues and their conclusion. If the first part of the film is quite slow, so as to install a good story, the second part is extremely well done and gasping. Events rush and the story looks like a thriller by certain times.

Beyond the social aspect, the film is really smart because all the underlying assumptions would crack little by little, and nothing and nobody is really what it seems. The narrative is not a linear history of escape or success. No it's rather a succession of failures that heroin crosses. And the director takes cons-up all the cliches that were used to seeing. Mia loves to dance, and we could then believe in a destiny to Billy Elliott, where they said that it may be his way out of this dreary day. Well no, because frankly Mia left her dancing, even if it is liberating in a sense, is not sufficient. The movie is terrible because all the promises of hope are systematically and violently erased. Fish Tank means quite right: the world is close to Mia but she manages to see beyond, without ever really managing to escape. But if the substance of history is profoundly defeatist film is also enhanced sequences beautiful. It is this love, this new desire is put into pictures on a beautiful game replays and bold frames. We pass constantly curious look of wonder and naivety of Mia in scenes of extreme violence, always between two. Everything is double in this film: the emotions, characters.

Moreover, the casting is perfect and every character was well written, it is Mia's younger sister, mother or Connor (played by the amazing Michael Fassbender) who illuminates every frame.

Everything rocked by the music "California Dreaming" (oh how sensual version of Bobby Womack). Title of the more evocative wife and he sums up the theme of the film.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Pilar on Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:52 pm

I just found out it's playing in Santa Fe for one night in March, thanks to you! I am SO there! XO
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:18 pm

Ooooo, can't wait to hear what you think... Cool
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:12 pm

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/leisure/5000818.Parky_at_the_Pictures__DVD_11_2_2010_/

Andrea Arnold pulls no punches in Fish Tank, which continues to accrue awards for Arnold and Katie Jarvis, who was selected for the role of a conflicted Essex teenager after being spotted arguing with her boyfriend at a railway station. Whether trying to steal a horse, bickering with her sister, rehearsing dance moves in an empty council flat or slowly allowing herself to trust her mother's new boyfriend, Jarvis conveys a mixture of attitude and fragility that makes her performance both credible and touching.

Despite having just been expelled, the 15 year-old seems undaunted by the prospect of being sent to a special boarding school and devotes her summer to auditioning for a local dance troupe and bitching with the other girls on the estate who share her dream. Never short of a ready answer, Jarvis is equally brusque with mean-spirited mother Kierston Wareing and catty younger sibling Rebecca Griffiths. Consequently, she has no shoulder to cry on when her CD player is confiscated by the bullying travellers whose horse she was trying to pinch. But she finds herself increasingly drawn to Wareing's new lover, Irish security guard Michael Fassbender, who encourages her to follow her star and even lends her his camcorder to make an audition tape.

It's pretty plain that Fassbender is grooming Jarvis and this knowledge makes sequences like the outwardly blissful day out in the countryside (during which he teaches her how to fish in the river with her bare hands) all the more disconcerting. However, Arnold opts to jettison such transgressive realism for a melodramatic denouement that sees Jarvis attempt to exact terrible retribution upon the duplicitous Fassbender by abducting his young daughter. This contrived incident could easily have tipped what had until then been resolutely naturalistic action into sensationalism. But Arnold and cinematographer Robbie Ryan make such chilling aspect ratio use of the perilous marshlands that it proves as harrowing as the relentlessly discreet depiction of Fassbender undressing Jarvis while she pretends to sleep and later deflowering her on the sofa while the drunken Wareing snores upstairs. Moreover, by having Jarvis recognise the seediness of the dance club and abscond to South Wales with teenage mechanic Harry Treadaway, Arnold ends on a note of hesitant optimism that demonstrates both Jarvis's shrugging resilience and her inability to learn from her mistakes.

Jarvis's stroppy, mouthy and painfully vulnerable performance deserves to stand alongside Carol White's in Ken Loach's Cathy Come Home (1966), Emily Lloyd's in David Leland's Wish You Were Here (1987) and Stephanie James's in Amma Asante's A Way of Life (2004). But enormous credit has to go to Arnold, who, by refusing to moralise or sentimentalise, taps into the national genius for kitchen sink sagas that has now been sustaining the UK industry for over half a century. However, the proletarian tropes so central to social realism have become such clichés that, despite their dismaying authenticity, there is a real danger that they are losing their capacity to discomfort liberal-minded moviegoers. Film certainly has a duty to reflect life as it's being lived. But the British reluctance to accept that domestic dysfunction is not exclusively the preserve of the working-classes has created a cinematic imbalance that urgently needs to be addressed or we'll end up producing nothing but cosy bourgeois romcoms and hardscrabble arthouse soaps.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:20 am

http://blogs.examiner.co.uk/moviesfilmscinema/2010/03/dvd-review-of-bafta-2010s-outs.html


DVD Review of BAFTA 2010's Outstanding British Film, 'Fish Tank'
By Brogan Morris on Mar 14, 10 05:28 PM

Spending her days practising her routine in an abandoned flat, Essex teenager Mia (Katie Jarvis) aspires to be a professional dancer. The only thing holding her back is the life she was born into - living in a run-down estate with her selfish mother (Kierston Wareing) and mouthy younger sister, Mia's life lacks any kind of affection or guidance. Then, when mum's magnetic new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) enters her life, everything changes.

It's easy to see comparisons between Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold's second feature, and her previous film, mystery thriller Red Road . Red Road, about a woman eking out a lonely existence in one of Scotland's poorest areas, offers similarly uncomfortable truths about Britain's ignored pockets of poverty. And, as in Fish Tank, Red Road's portrayal of life on the edge never makes for easy viewing.

Where the two films differ is that while Red Road features characters that are much too tough to care for - a hard watch made harder by having some ugly human beings as our protagonists - this is a mistake Arnold doesn't repeat with Fish Tank. The inhabitants of Fish Tank all have their faults, fighting, cursing and deceiving each other at will, but we always remain sympathetic.

Based on Arnold's original screenplay, the material, despite the depiction of life in a run-down community being just as gruelling as in her debut, is never less than gripping. The streets are littered with refuse and disenchanted youths and our representative is a cider-swilling 15 year-old with an attitude problem - Mia's first encounter with her mum's charming new boyfriend sees her simply reject his kindness with harsh dismissal.

Soon though, Mia begins to let her guard down, her suspicions regarding Connor's friendliness slowly dissolving as she comes to realise its sincerity. Her scepticism is understandable - this is the only person in her life that isn't as filled with rage or confusion as she is.

With her life lacking any sort of father figure, Mia doesn't know how to respond to an older man's kindliness. As Connor and Mia share some increasingly awkward moments, the surrogate father and daughter's closeness begins to over-step the boundaries of an appropriate relationship and Fish Tank forces viewers to ask themselves some very difficult questions.

And if Connor hadn't been cast correctly, he could have come across as a creep, but the always dependable Michael Fassbender manages to invest all his usual charm and charisma. Thanks to Fassbender, we simultaneously believe Connor's attraction to and his fatherly treatment of Mia. So too the rare glints of vulnerability and anger - what initially seems like the perfect man to Mia step-by-step reveals his flaws. This is, like any man, someone with faults, and it's Fassbender's finest performance yet.

Katie Jarvis, in her debut role, is just as startling. Mia is a difficult character to portray - this is a confused girl aspiring for a better life but trapped by her environment, hiding her many insecurities behind a vicious veil - and Jarvis plays her brilliantly.

Arnold also finds place amidst the grime for some gorgeous cinematography. The problem with most social realist dramas is their often grotty look - although the oppressive setting of Fish Tank isn't the most pleasant to look at, Arnold manages to find some stark beauty in amongst the ugliness of dreary suburban life.

Which can't be said for the film as a whole. The residents of Fish Tank's estate do nothing but torment each other for two hours and after such a length of time, getting beaten into submission by Andrea Arnold's bleak vision of life down South, the ending offers little extra hope.

Not that it feels unnecessarily downbeat for the sake of effect - it just feels real. You'll come through at the end, exhausted, but knowing you've watched one of the best films of the past few years. If you have any interest in British cinema, watch this film as soon as possible.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:54 am

http://www.t5m.com/chris-sullivan/cinephile-invictus-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-and-fishtank.html?fmt=news

Another film that looks at the machinations of the family unit, this time a Thames estuary unmarried mum, her older chav daughter and her younger sibling is Fishtank. Directed by Andrea Arnold it stars the quite excellent Kate Jarvis as Mia the older daughter and Michael Fassbender as Connor her ma’s boyfriend who seduces her – genius.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:59 pm

http://www.dvdoutsider.co.uk/bluray/reviews/f/fish_tank_br.html

Sink or swim
A UK region B Blu-ray review of FISH TANK by L.K. Weston
"The thing about the film industry is that it's all incredibly
middle-class, isn't it? The people that who look at it and study
it and talk about it – write about it – are middle-class, so they
always see films about the working-class as being grim,
because the people in the film don't have what they have.
I very much get the feeling I'm seeing a different place."
Andrea Arnold in Sight and Sound magazine, 2009

When I first read that quote by writer-director Andrea Arnold, before many of her award circuit triumphs, when the buzz surrounding her second film, Fish Tank was already gaining a fair amount of momentum, I remember being incredibly annoyed by it as if it were a personal attack, as if she were speaking to me and me alone. I thought it to be a rather sweeping generalisation, and one that I don't entirely agree with. However, as I read the rest of the article, and considered her opening statement further, I realised what she was actually talking about was the mindset people bring to viewing social realist cinema. It's as rigid and conformist as the boundaries of cinematic frame (more on that later). The words 'gritty' and 'grim' are practically engrained into the brain of every film student, academic and journalist the world over as a shorthand, and for the majority of films, an accurate description of what we see on screen.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rod of iron rule, and, intriguingly enough, they've only emerged within the last decade in the shape of films work by Lynne Ramsey – there are shades of Ratcatcher and Movern Callar both in Fish Tank – Andrea Arnold herself, and latterly, Samantha Morton's directorial debut, The Unloved, all proof, that even if it isn't always acknowledged – films are ether referred to by their sameness or their difference to something else: to compare is human – that genre does indeed evolve. Looking at that list, you might be wondering if I consider this to be a feminised trait that only a female director could bring that kind of light touch to the material, but that in turn applies that all male directors are heavy-handed and clumsy. Making a judgment like that discounts – to use an in-keeping example – the sublime moments that exist in films such as Pawel Pawlikowski's My Summer of Love. In fact, it's a lot like Arnold's statement about the middle-class dominance within the film industry, it's a reductive one. What's closer to the truth in the case of all these directors, is, as Arnold freely states, they 'see differently.'

And what do we 'see' exactly?

Though Arnold's film might belong to a large milieu – it's Britain's dominant mode of filmmaking after all – Fish Tank isn't anything like other social realist films I've seen, and I've seen a fair amount. On paper, it looks like conventional character-driven coming-of-age tale, set against an urban backdrop, and pushing all the right buttons in regard to honesty and authenticity.

So far, so well-trodden.

I went into this film having read of the continual comparisons to Leigh and Loach, and expected something along the lines of Loach's Sweet Sixteen with a feminine slant and a London accent. I braced myself for the following: bleakness, hopelessness, rainy skies, muddy fields, dark street corners, gangs of kids drinking, smoking and generally doing far too much far too young, pandering to every possible negative stereotype, stoking the tabloidal fires of mass moral panic. If like I, you're expecting to see a carbon-copy of all that's gone before; another dour, listless take on adolescent struggle then you're in for a surprise. A big surprise.

What I got was something fresh and uncompromising, with sunny skies to boot. Never has an Essex estate looked so pretty. It's not pretty in the chocolate box, English Heritage, postcard way, more pretty in the way that you can see beauty in your surroundings when it's sunny and have a natural affection for where you grew up, because it's familiar to you, because it's all you know and all you are at once. Sure, high-rises, from the outside at least, are grey and soulless, but inside, it's bright and lively – in the same way that Happy-Go-Lucky has that extraordinary bright palette, though here slightly more muted, in-keeping with the general feel of the film – just like the people that live in them. Yes, they struggle, and live in what most people would describe as poverty, but Arnold never once makes us feel pity for them because of that. Anything we do feel for these characters comes out of their experiences and actions, rather than their environment.

In many ways it's a film that celebrates ordinariness. Arnold presents life or rather, a number of lives as they are without judgment or agenda.

At first glance, fifteen-year-old Mia Williams (an impressive Katie Jarvis, making her film debut), is the poster girl for the ASBO generation. In her hooded top, tracksuit bottoms and trainers, she's every suburban parent's nightmare: loud, rude, foul-mouthed (if you're sensitive to profanity, you'll immediately want to wash her mouth out with soap, but it'd also wager that if you're so prone, then this film won't be for you), constantly in scrapes with friend-turned-enemy Keeley (Sarah Bayes), she talks the estate, aimless and sullen-faced, having been kicked out of school, keen to avoid, avoiding her often self-absorbed mother Joanne (an incredibly powerful Kierston Wareing) and well-meaning intervention of Social Services at any cost. However, still waters, as they say, run deep. Mia might look, walk, talk and act like a stereotype, but over the course of the film, she grows into a fully rounded person before out eyes; but it's a long journey, and one fraught with difficulties. In short, she's her own worst enemy.

Her younger sister Tyler (a wonderful Rebecca Griffiths, also making her debut), is no better, and seems intent on following in her sister's footsteps. The two constantly fight with each other, and fight for their mother's attention and affection. No older than eleven, she smokes and drinks in full view of Mia and Joanne with neither of them batting an eyelid. It could be argued that Arnold is trying to manipulate and shock her audience, but like many of the other 'wrong' behaviour in this film, it doesn't feel like its there because the director wanted to stir up controversy, it's there because it happens. When Mia gets an older lad near the shops to buy alcohol for her, it doesn't look out of place; it's just part of her routine. Drinking and smoking are part of daily life as ordinary to the sisters as breathing. Though Tyler's precocious ways and foul – though rather witty – mouth brings some of the most humorous moments in Fish Tank, there's still an underlying feeling that her cynicism and loss of innocence is something we should mourn. Our first sighting of her on the grass outside the flat block, sunning herself with a group of friends, as if on some far flung exotic beach. Given her age, it's hard to ignore how sexualised an image that is. It's an image, and a theme that most certainly sticks and rears its head again later on with Mia.

The last thread in this rich little tapestry is Connor (a typically fine Michael Fassbender), Joanne's new boyfriend. Though Mia is initially hesitant and rather prickly toward him (you get the feeling he's the last in a somewhat lengthy line), they begin grow closer, and he becomes a much-needed positive figure in the lives of all the Williams women, caring for them in different ways. For Joanne, he's source of support both romantic and financial. For Tyler, he's the father figure she so obviously lacks. From the outset, it seems he's the first of Joanne's partners to take an interest in the girls. Before he integrates into the family proper, he's invited for a house party, and Joanne bans them from coming downstairs, as if she wants to deny their existence, much like Zoe in Arnold's short film Wasp (see below for more details). Later, when Connor attempts to organise an impromptu daytrip, Joanne is resistant, batting off Tyler's pleas and clearly wanting to goad Mia into storming off, meaning Connor's plan falls apart. Mia pulls things back from the brink, taking up his offer, much to Tyler's delight. Although it's obvious she does it to spite her mother – one of her many acts of rebellion – she ends up getting the most from it, and unexpectedly bonds with him, and he becomes something of a mentor to her. The only one to actively encourage her dancing, he's instrumental in getting her to try for an audition she sees advertised in the local shop, lending her the video camera she needs to record her piece.

In this bunch of dominant women Connor (and Fassbender) stands out, not only because he's male, but because he's a positive figure. Save for Mia's young traveller friend Billy (an effective Harry Treadaway), who's a rather lovely quiet foil to the loud, antagonistic Mia; he's the only man in their lives. To say anything more about the twists this film takes with Connor and Mia in particular would be unfair, since it's one of the most interesting and difficult aspects of Fish Tank, and like Red Road before it, it's not a film that's afraid to question or push boundaries. Seeing is a key theme of Fish Tank, whether observing or being observed, a thread picked up from Red Road that reaches particularly challenging heights here through Connor.

Arnold has suggested elsewhere that she wishes cinema were braver, and indeed, she leads by example. This is by no means a cowardly or most importantly, given the genre she's working within, predictable film, and Arnold is a director who's not afraid to do things that are contentious or to present behaviour that would be considered in the same terms. Nothing is neat or clear-cut. If you want simple, resolved and nice, then this won't' be to your liking. Her characters are not perfect; they make mistakes and do things that are inexplicable or morally questionable. At times, you'll dislike them, and maybe dislike the film because of it.

The hardest character to like is the character we become most invested in: Mia. From the off, it's clear that this is a girl who doesn't like to do as she's told, won't tow the line, and wants to live her life her own way. Her only real refuge is her dancing, a secret passion which she enjoys in secret, away from prying eyes in nearby empty flat. However, before you settle yourself in for a nice, lovely Billy Elliot-esque storyline where she's discovered and catapulted to stardom, and realises her dreams of dancing and being in a music video for the rappers she so admires, stop hoping, because young Mia isn't afforded a salvation that's as clichéd as that. Even the audition she pins so much on is later unmasked as a rather seedy-looking attempt to recruit girls for erotic dancing. Literally a fish out of water, Mia leaves before she can show any of the steps she's been so diligently rehearsing.

One thing Arnold does share with her oft compared peer, Mike Leigh, is an unusual working method. Shot in continuity, Arnold withheld the film's scripts, giving the actors the parts they needed to see, relatively close to filming, so they learned the story as we do. That freshness and rawness definitely shows up on screen. There's a tension, an energy and an undercurrent that charges through this film and sometimes surges up to the surface. There are moments when that energy burst through to great effect, creating something of a tonal shift, taking the film on a darker path, as in Red Road, and is perhaps an indicator of another Arnold calling-card in the making.

The fact that the film's teenaged leading lady Katie Jarvis was discovered by Arnold after she witnessed an argument between Jarvis and her boyfriend at Tilbury train station makes for great copy, but, thankfully, Jarvis can hold her own, and it means that she plays Mia without a hint of pretentiousness. What you see is what you get. That sounds like I think Jarvis plays the role with little flair, but in truth, it's the opposite. Arnold wanted someone who has lived with knowledge of a life like Mia's, and in Jarvis, that knowledge arrives onscreen, unsullied and innate, but with a surprising amount of skill. What this actress does can't be affected or learned – no matter how closely you adhere to Method rules or how well you mimic – she just is.

Likewise, Kierston Wareing is equally effective. Though this is only her second film role since appearing in Mike Leigh's It's a Free World, she's a television regular, and that experience definitely shows. Sure, Joanne can be fiery, and the teenage, boozing, party-loving girl she once was often makes an appearance and clearly hasn't died – she's old before her time – there's also something terribly there's something quiet, unsettling and damaged about her, that really comes through toward the end of the film and could have been rather melodramatic in different hands.

It's easy to imagine Joanne as a bolder, louder, brassier woman, but where needed, Wareing dials it down, bringing depth to the character, who could have easily been rather flat and easy to vilify. In one particularly heated moment with Mia, she asks what's "wrong with [her]," without a moment's pause, her daughter shouts back down the stairs "you're what's wrong with me." But, Fish Tank isn't Joanne's story, it's Mia's. While it implies that Joanne's lack of mothering – that stems from a lack of knowledge, a result of being thrown in at the deep end, rather than a lack of love – that causes Mia (and a lesser extent Tyler) to be the way she is, some of Mia's problems are of her own making. I don't think it's a coincidence that you can see bits and pieces of Joanne in Mia and Tyler, refracted, flagging up that history repeats itself, and, if they remain the same, her daughters are destined for the same fate.

Outside of its cast, the look and feel of Fish Tank is where it really excels. Arnold finds beauty in strange places, and nothing feels superfluous. There's something almost contemplative about the way we follow Mia around. She walks everywhere, which gives a definite, visceral sense of pace and time passing. When she's tired, from walking too far, running too fast or dancing too long, we feel it. The breaks in action come when Mia sleeps. Consequently, Fish Tank has a real sense of soul and genuine circadian rhythm that's quite bewitching, because you learn to anticipate certain events or patterns in Mia's behaviour, as if she were a person rather than a character. Such is the level of investment Jarvis and Arnold both can engender. One such pattern is her frequent visits to some waste ground outside the estate, where she crosses paths with Billy and his brothers who've made camp there. For her trespass, Mia is tested, set upon by Billy's rowdy, less gentlemanly brothers, who seem to delight in bating Mia just as you might bate a fighting dog. Typically, Mia gives as good as she gets, but is genuinely thankful when Billy releases his dog off its leash, giving Mia an out. Wisely, she takes it, and runs while she can.

Animalistic imagery recurs within the film itself, when on her first visit to the travellers' site, where she encounters an aging, tethered white horse, and tries, over the course of various subsequent visits to set it free, attempting to break the chain with a hammer she's brought from home, during which time her friendship with Billy blossoms, and has someone to share things with and hang around with for what looks like the first time in her life. When they aren't together, she's otherwise alone, and shunned by the other girls from the estate after the fight with Keeley. Mia's affinity with the animal is because she feels the same; that she too is tethered and trapped, wasting away. Arguably, it's a rather obvious parallel – perhaps a little too obvious – but it's a powerful one, much like the image of the wasp, beating itself against the window of the flat. Of course, Mia immediately frees it, opening the window, to allow it to fly out. It speaks volumes that I expected this normally volatile and violent girl to squash the insect and kill it rather than set it free.

Freedom is perhaps the thing, after motherly love that Mia craves the most, and this is strikingly reinforced by Arnold's use of 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 16:9.*I initially wondered why the director had chosen the format, since in the age of widescreen, smaller ratios are all but outmoded, a reminder of the tiny square televisions that are all over Mia's family's flat. It's a nice little nod, but there's an even bigger reason and a deeper significance the aesthetic decision. It's also an artistic statement. From the second we set eyes on Mia, we can see she's constrained and contained. The frame is her metaphorical tank, and it always feels too small, to the point that it's claustrophobic, and you're praying that Mia will break out of its confines and run at the edges of the frame to push them out and give herself space, like the free runner she's fascinated by in the street.

Interestingly, the US trailer that accompanied its release dispenses with this, cropping the frame for the now more common widescreen format. It's no stretch to say that this seemingly arbitrary choice means that experience of the film would be entirely different, and I believe does the film a great disservice. I'm unsure if the film was also projected in this ratio during its theatrical run, but if it was, I can't imagine it's something Arnold agreed with or even condoned, but it wouldn't be the first time a director's decisions were challenged by a studio. Creative freedom has a price, and one that Arnold is all too aware of.

Awareness and awareness of the self is the biggest theme of Fish Tank and the one that hit closest to home for me, which is probably why I took such offence to Arnold's statements about film and class. Admittedly, reaction to it was knee-jerk one, most probably connected to my own hang-ups about my background – where I live, where I sit in the hierarchy of the supposedly outmoded class system – but it also points toward something that's at the heart of the film: how you see the world versus how you are seen by it.

Fish Tank is the first social realist film that I've genuinely liked, truly and fully in all senses of the word. Yes, sometimes it's dark, sometimes it's intense and sometimes, you feel so involved feel so incredibly sad for the people you're watching, that you wonder why you continue. The character of Mia in particular is one that will resonate with anyone who grew up in similar surroundings. You've either known girls like her; were a girl like her, or, you are her. For me, Fish Tank wasn't about showing the difference between the haves and the have-nots, or lamenting the fact that economics and genetics have dealt Mia (and millions like her) a rough hand in life. This isn't a film about the lack of opportunity, it's about what you do with the opportunities you're given, and no one can accuse Mia of wasting anything she manages to get hold of.
SOUND AND VISION

OK, it's framed 4:3, it's low budget and it's British social realist, so we know this is not going to look that great on Blu-ray, right? Wrong. Big time wrong. Fish Tank looks superb here, a razor-sharp transfer with excellent contrast and faithful rendering of its pastel baised colour palette. That there's slightly less punch when the light levels drop is unsurprising, but the picture integrity doesn't falter – when Mia waits in her room at night for her mother and Connor to come home, bathed in the amber of the street light from outside, the colour range may be narrowed and the contrast softened, but the image itself still looks rich and detailed. The use of natural light and minimal fill-in is really well captured here.

As far as I know the original soundtrack was mixed in stereo and you can choose between LCPM 48 stereo 2.0 track or a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 on the Blu-ray. To be honest, except for the track that plays over the closing credits both tracks are stereo only, with nothing at all happening at the back on the 5.1 until the very end. Of the two the PCM stereo track is the best, being just that little bit crisper and louder than the DTS. Both serve their purpose well – this is not a film in need of subwoofer punch and widely spread sound effects.
EXTRA FEATURES

This is nice little package with a first-rate director-approved 4:3 transfer, one, that if you're still cautious as to whether to make the leap to Blu-ray, really does justify all the hype. The extras can be played by selecting each one individually or through accessing the 'play all' feature. When the latter is selected, they play sequentially in order they appear on the menu screen.

Arnold and Jarvis both cut intriguing figures, and given the groundswell of critical appreciation that surrounds the film, I would have liked some kind of making-of featurette or interview material included here. Given Arnold's unique working methods and clear investment in the project, a commentary track would have been a real bonus. These are minor gripes though, and perhaps flag up how ubiquitous such supplementary material has become. Sometimes, a film is strong enough to stand on it's own without any added baggage, and that's certainly the case here.

Wasp [short film] (24:11)
I was pleased to find Arnold's Oscar-winning 2003 short amongst the extras, since it's very much a companion piece to the main feature. In many ways, Fish Tank can be seen as Wasp's sequel, picking up a decade or so down the line.

The story centres on struggling single mum Zoe (Nathalie Press), living on a Dartford estate. When ex-boyfriend Dave (Danny Dyer) drives by and he wants to catch up, led to believe her young children belong to a friend and she's just taking care of them, he asks her out. Obviously in need of a break, she says yes. Unable to find anyone to baby-sit; she's forced to leave them outside the pub, flitting back and forth between them and Dave. Bringing what she can afford in food and drink from the bar (a glass of Coke and a packet of crisps to share between them), they're left to play in the street.

Wasp is a deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful film that shows a lot of potential, as well as many hallmarks of Arnold's distinctive visual style. Heartfelt, honest and realistic in a way that's quite different from the social realism label Arnold's films are attributed with. In general, short films are sometimes seen as lesser films compared to their feature-length counterparts, but that's certainly not the case here, since it feels as fully conceived as a film three times its length; driven by the strength of Press and Dyer's performances.

Gallery
Photographed by Holly Horner (who also worked on Arnold's previous films Wasp and Red Road), this is a collection of photos taken during the filming of Fish Tank that's surprisingly different from the standard fare, since they err toward the artistic rather than a classic promotional shoot, so they wouldn't feel out of place at a photographic exhibition. Each shot is accessed by pressing the 'next' or 'previous' option with your remote (or mouse), and the fact these aren't presented in a timed slideshow really means you get a chance to look at the images and how they're composed. Lovely.

Trailer (2:27)
Conventional stuff here, with typically dramatic intertitles: 'live,' 'love' and 'give as good as you get'. As we progress, further mentions are also given to Arnold's pedigree, with some well-paced press quotes and further mentions of award nominations. The editing firmly situates Fish Tank in the social realist mould, and relies heavily on music and sound, which is a nice touch given how both are very much present in Mia's life and the landscape of the film itself.

Red Road Trailer (2:00)
Another nice little bonus, which is clearly included for the benefit of viewers introduced to Arnold's work through Fish Tank. Well-paced and with more than enough intrigue, I'd be unsurprised if there was something of a spike in sales for Red Road as a result of it's predecessor's acclaim. It's well worth seeking out if you enjoyed the main feature.

Also included are trailers for several other Artificial Eye releases including Michael Haneke's Hidden and The White Ribbon, along with Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir and Andrzej Wajda's Katyn.
SOUND AND VISION

Fish Tank is, at the risk of sounding cliché, an honest film. As fresh and new as it's young leading lady Katie Jarvis, who gives an incredibly assured performance within an a strong ensemble cast. Heartfelt and intense, this film is unafraid to present modern Britain as it is. Though Arnold may have her fair share of antecedents in Leigh and Loach, Fish Tank is proof that there are different ways of exploring and testing the limits of the genre. She stands up as an intriguing and powerful voice in contemporary British filmmaking, and well-deserving of the praise she's received thus far. Highly recommended.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:07 pm

http://themoviegourmet.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/dvd-of-the-week-fish-tank/

DVD of the Week: Fish Tank
Posted on August 17, 2010 by moviegourmet

A damaged and angry young woman from the British lower class has the second-worst mother in recent films (after Mo’Nique’s role in Precious). She dreams of dancing her way out of the neighborhood in a talent contest. Then her mother brings home a new boyfriend who kindles new feelings in the teen. This development culminates in a scene where she dances to the Bobby Womack version of California Dreamin‘ while the audience holds its breath.

In her first film role, Katie Jarvis plays the girl; Jarvis was discovered by the filmmakers during a sidewalk argument with her boyfriend that convinced them that she could muster the sustained rage (and foul mouth) required by the role. Michael Fassbender is excellent as the mother’s new boyfriend.

It’s on my list of Best Movies of 2010 – So Far.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:02 am

http://www.blu-raydefinition.com/reviews/fish-tank-uk-release-blu-ray-review.html

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu-ray Review
Posted November 30th, 2010 by Brandon DuHamel

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray ReviewFish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

* Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (director approved)
* Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
* Resolution: 1080p/24
* Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
* Subtitles: N/A
* Region: ABC (Region-Free)
* Classification: 15
* Discs: 1
* Studio: Artificial Eye
* Blu-ray Release Date: March 22, 2010
* RRP: £19.99

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

Director/writer Andrea Arnold’s (Red Road; WASP) second feature film, Fish Tank, is a gritty, brutal, and realistic look at the lives of working class women in Britain. Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), a disconsolate, streetwise, hard drinking teenaged girl, expelled from school, isolated from her peers, and with dreams of becoming a professional dancer, like those on music videos because she can “dance like she’s black,” Fish Tank is grim, but always riveting.

When Mia’s mother (Kierston Wareing), another hard drinking, loose with the foul language woman, brings home a mysterious boyfriend (Michael Fassbender)one night, the lives of Mia, her ma and her little sister (Rebecca Griffths) are threatened to be thrown out of balance with the promise of love, that, if only for an instant, begins to break down the fortress Mia has built around her heart, but as with all things in life, complications ensue. Fish Tank quickly teeters on the precipice of a nearly violent and shocking turn that viewers will not expect.

Coupled on the disc with Fish Tank is Arnold’s Oscar-winning short film, WASP (1.78:1; 1080i/50), which offers another gritty look into the harsh lives of working class women.

Video Quality

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

With a director approved 1.33:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer to Blu-ray, Fish Tank looks good, clean, and detailed enough, but its drab imagery and soft focus do not lend it to spectacular HD demonstration material. It does look quite film-like, despite the full-frame aspect ratio.

Audio Quality

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

Audio on Fish Tank is provided in the form of two rather straightforward (read: boring) mixes. A LPCM 2.0 stereo mix and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The 5.1 option doesn’t provide much of a lift over the stereo option, adding in only some extremely subtle, low-level ambience to the surround channels. Dialogue is clean, but sometimes a bit too low and difficult to discern.

Supplemental Materials

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

As mentioned previously, the real supplement offered up here is the Oscar-winning short WASP, making this release kind of a double feature. The rest is just filler material The supplements provided with this release are:

* WASP (1.78:1; 1080i/50) — The Oscar-winning short film by director Andrea Watson.
* Gallery (1080p) — Photographs by Holly Horner
* Trailer (1.33:1; 1080p/24)
* Artificial Eye Releases
* Red Road Trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu ray Review

Katie Jarvis puts on a marvelous performance in this harsh slice-of-life tale from Andrea Watson. A story of listless youth and bad choices, the director tells the story like it is without passing judgment. It’s real, it’s moving and wholly enthralling. Highly recommended.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:28 am

http://www.moviecynics.com/fish-tank-criterion-collection-dvd-and-blu-ray-release-date-latest-blu-ray-release-dates/

Fish Tank: Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-Ray Release Date – Latest Blu-Ray Release Dates
By The Vocabulariast on Thursday, 2nd December 2010

Fish Tank is a critically acclaimed flick form the UK. It’s also a Criterion release… so you know you need to at least see it. You’ll get a chance when Fish Tank is released on DVD and Blu-Ray soon. When is Fish Tank coming out on DVD? It will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 22, 2011.

Here is an official synopsis to get you pumped: “A clear-eyed, potent portrait of teenage sexuality and vulnerability, Fish Tank confirms Oscar® winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s stature as one of the leading figures of new British cinema. Fifteen-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is in a constant state of war with her family, her school and her neighbors, without any constructive creative outlet for her energies save a secret love of hip-hop dancing. When she meets her party-girl mother’s (Kierston Wareing) charming new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender), she is amazed to find him returning her attention, and believes he can help her start to make sense of her life—though his seemingly tender demeanor may hide a much more treacherous interior. Fish Tank recently received British Independent Film Awards for Best Director (Andrea Arnold) and Most Promising Newcomer (Katie Jarvis).”

SRP for the DVD is 30 bucks, while the Blu-Ray will run you 40 bucks. If you want to pre-order it for cheaper, you can do so by clicking on the poster above or the ads below, which will help us out here at the site. Or, if you’re planning on buying it in-store, you can still help the site keep running by clicking one of the big square ads at the top of the article. Either way, we appreciate your support.

Special Features include the following:

* New high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Andrea Arnold, director of photography Robbie Ryan, and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
* All three of Arnold’s short films: Milk (1998), Dog (2001), and the Oscar-winning Wasp (2003)
* New video interview with actor Kierston Wareing
* Interview with actor Michael Fassbender from 2009
* Audition footage
* Stills gallery by on-set photographer Holly Horner
* Original theatrical trailer
* PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie

I wouldn’t expect anything else from a Criterion Release.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:09 am

http://www.dvdoutsider.co.uk/articles/articles/r/review_of_year_2010_slarek.html

Raging against the machine
A political rant and a review of the films and discs of 2010 by Slarek

<snipped>

THE FILMS

There's no order of preference here, so I'll go with an alphabetical listing by their English titles.

Fish Tank (Blu-ray review)
Andrea Arnold's alternately tough and tender follow-up to Red Road is a modern working-class film drama par excellence, a dramatically compelling story of a teenage girl (an extraordinary performance from newcomer Katie Jarvis, who Arnold approached after seeing her arguing with her boyfriend) who falls for her mother's good looking new boyfriend (another fine turn from Michael Fassbender) with inevitable but still emotionally jarring results. There's not a single wrong note here and even the familiar elements are infused with freshness and honesty, though this is another of those films that those who twitch at strong language might do well to sidestep.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:25 pm

http://inews24hs.com/hdmovies/?p=700

Fish Tank (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray Review)
Posted in Latest Blu-ray Reviews | Fevereiro 9th, 2011

Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA Film Award for Outstanding British Film, and Best Director and Most Promising Newcomer awards at the British Independent Film Awards, Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include three short films by Andrea Arnold; interviews with actors Kierston Wareing and Michael Fassbender; audition footage; stills gallery; and original theatrical trailer. In English, w…
Video

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.

(Note: I will add the transfer credits later on as I only received a check disc, and at the moment do not have the illustrated booklet).

This is a top-notch high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is fantastic, clarity excellent, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. Color…
Audio

There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is strong, but it has a fairly limited dynamic amplitude. Indeed, Fish Tank is primarily a dialog-driven film, so do not expect a massive amount of surround or bass activity. On the other hand, the dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow…
Supplements

* Kierston Wareing – in this interview, recorded exclusively for Criterion in London in 2010, Kerston Wareing, who plays Mia’s mother in Fish Tank, discusses her collaboration with Andrea Arnold, the message of the film, her character, etc. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080p).

* Michael Fassbender – a fascinating audio conversation between David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, and actor Michael Fassben…
Final Words

Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, one of the very best films to be released on Blu-ray in Europe in 2010, has now reached North America courtesy of Criterion. You cannot afford to miss it! Let’s hope that Criterion will eventually manage to bring director Arnold’s equally powerful Red Road to Blu-ray as well. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. ……

Read full review: Blu-ray.com
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:32 pm

http://criterioncast.com/2010/11/15/february-2011-criterion-collection-new-releases-announced-fish-tank-sweet-smell-of-success-senso-amarcord-still-walking/

Fish Tank

Andrea Arnold

DVD and Blu-ray on 2/22/2011

Fifteen-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is in a constant state of war with her family and the world around her, without any creative outlet for her considerable energies save a secret love of hip-hop dance. When she meets her party-girl mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor ( Michael Fassbender), she is amazed to find he returns her attention, and believes he might help her start to make sense of her life. A clear-eyed, potent portrait of teenage sexuality and vulnerability, FISH TANK confirms writer/director Arnold’s status as one of the leading figures of new British cinema.

Disc Features

* New high-definition digital transfer, approved by director Andrea Arnold, director of photography Robbie Ryan, and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge (with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
* All three of Arnold’s short films: Milk (1998), Dog (2001), and the Oscar-winning Wasp (2003)
* New video interview with actor Kierston Wareing
* Interview with actor Michael Fassbender from 2009
* Audition footage
* Stills gallery by on-set photographer Holly Horner
* Original theatrical trailer
* PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:15 am

http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/02/16/criterion-collection-february-reviews/

NEW CRITERION RELEASES:

#553 'Fish Tank' (Andrea Arnold) 2009

THE FILM: Things begin all stark and subdued, with a respite from some unknown chaos. 15 year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) breathes heavily, her head swaying mere inches away from the camera's lens. She surveys her small and sterile Essex fiefdom from the balcony, and then tears onto the quad of her low-rent apartment complex like a locomotive steaming off the tracks, dishing out head-butts and shrill curses to anyone who crosses her path. Mia is not a happy girl, her propulsive anger enough to power half of Britain, let alone the boney frame of one small pissed off teenager. She harbors ambitions of becoming a dancer, but her talents don't seem to match her desperation. She shares an apartment with her pre-sexualized kid sister and her apathetic mother (who feels absent even though she never seems to go outside), but they're less of a family than they are living reminders of Mia's likely trajectory. She needs to get out, and her mother's new boyfriend (a brilliant and believably ominous Michael Fassbender) might just be her best chance for escape...

It's a sliver of a story, made rich and full-bodied by a small mess of arresting performances. Jarvis is a diamond in the rough, a Bruno S. for the rambunctious teenage set. Andrea Arnold, here making only her second feature, implicitly recognizes that "Realism" is a dirty word, and so she infuses her film with a fair measure of furtive poetry -- if the metaphors fall a bit clunky, the drama is sly and strong, buttoning things up with the most narratively satisfying dance sequence this side of 'Dogtooth.'

'Fish Tank' is the kind of film that makes Criterion's deal with IFC Films seem like charity, not business. It's swift kick in the ass that's every bit as uncouth and kinetic as it is poignant and enduring, an electric modern marvel that'll leave you breathless.



THE TECHNICAL STUFF: One of the most crisp transfers the still-nascent world of Blu-ray has ever known. The picture is rich and vibrant, and despite the film's restless movement it never surrenders to ghosting effects. The sound is equally clear, but subs are definitely recommended for American ears.

THE EXTRAS: Criterion's IFC releases tend to be on the skimpier side, and 'Fish Tank' is no exception. The video interviews are barely above the stuff of an ordinary E.P.K. and the "Audition footage" -- too brief to feel substantial -- instead feels tacked on.

THE BEST BIT: You mean besides seeing the words of Cinematical's very own Todd Gilchrist pop up in the film's trailer? A trio of Arnold's short films are included, and they more than compensate for the thin supplements. 'Milk' is an arresting early work that gets extraordinary mileage from a single image, 'Dog' is a brutally wayward mess, and 'Wasp' is a haunting Oscar-nominated portrait of a desperate single mother that paved the way for 'Fish Tank's' strikingly confident stride. As a bonus, it provides an unforgettable episode of "When Good Directors Meet Terrible C.G."

THE ARTWORK: I might have gone with the image at the top of this post, but Criterion's choice is frank and appropriately captures Mia in suspended animation.

THE VERDICT: Criterion provides a glorious home for one of the best films in recent years. Arnold is a major talent, and this dazzlingly electric film is the perfect way to get acquainted.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:19 pm

http://www.blu-raydefinition.com/reviews/fish-tank-criterion-collection-blu-ray-review.html

Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review
Posted February 18th, 2011 by Brandon DuHamel

* Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
* Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
* Resolution: 1080p/24
* Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
* Subtitles: N/A
* Rating: Not Rated
* Region: A (Region-Locked)
* Discs: 1
* Studio: Criterion Collection
* Blu-ray Release Date: February 22, 2011
* List Price: $39.95

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not related to this release were previously published as our Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

Director/writer Andrea Arnold’s (Red Road; WASP) second feature film, Fish Tank, is a gritty, brutal, and realistic look at the lives of working class women in Britain. Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), a disconsolate, streetwise, hard drinking teenaged girl, expelled from school, isolated from her peers, and with dreams of becoming a professional dancer, like those on music videos because she can “dance like she’s black,” Fish Tank is grim, but always riveting.

When Mia’s mother (Kierston Wareing), another hard drinking, loose with the foul language woman, brings home a mysterious boyfriend (Michael Fassbender)one night, the lives of Mia, her ma and her little sister (Rebecca Griffths) are threatened to be thrown out of balance with the promise of love, that, if only for an instant, begins to break down the fortress Mia has built around her heart, but as with all things in life, complications ensue. Fish Tank quickly teeters on the precipice of a nearly violent and shocking turn that viewers will not expect.

Video Quality

Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu ray Review

Supervised by director Andrea Arnold, director of photography Robbie Ryan, and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge, this new digital transfer was created on an ARRISCAN Film Scanner in 2K resolution from the original 35mm camera negative.

As far as I can tell, this Criterion transfer of Fish Tank looks identical to the previous UK release from Artificial Eye. The director approved 1.33:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer to Blu-ray looks good, clean, and detailed enough, but its drab imagery and soft focus do not lend it to spectacular HD demonstration material. Despite the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the image looks film-like, with just the slightest bit of grain and the occasional hint of speckles.

Audio Quality

Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu ray Review

The surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master using Pro Tools HD.

Audio on Fish Tank is a very boring mix DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The 5.1 mix might as well be a stereo mix, having only only some extremely subtle, low-level ambience in the surround channels. Dialogue is clean, but sometimes a bit too low and difficult to discern.

Supplemental Materials

Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu ray Review

Supplements on this Criterion release are a definite step up from the Artificial Eye UK disc, with actor interviews, audition footage, and three of the director’s previous short films, in addition to the usually strong Criterion booklet.

The supplements provided with this release are:

* Kierston Wareing (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:14.19) – This video piece features actor Kierston Wareing, who was interviewed exclusively for the Criterion Collection in London in the fall of 2010.
* Michael Fassbender (0:26.22) – This audio conversation between David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, and actor Michael Fassbender took place in Queens, New York, on January 6, 2010, as part of the museum’s Pinewood Dialogues series.
* Audition Footage (1.78:1; 1080i/60) – These auditions for the pivotal role of Mia reveal the array of talent available to director Andrea Arnold during the casting of Fish Tank.
* Short Films:
o Milk (1998) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:10.30) – In this short a woman suffers a miscarriage.
o Dog (2001) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:10.16) – A troubled working class teenage girl has the true nature of her boyfriend revealed to her when a stray dog appears.
o Wasp (2003) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:25.46) – A woman fears her new boyfriend won’t want to date her if he finds out she has four kids.
* Booklet: Featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie, film credits, stills, and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu ray Review

Katie Jarvis puts on a marvelous performance in this harsh slice-of-life tale from Andrea Watson. A story of listless youth and bad choices, the director tells the story like it is without passing judgment. It’s real, it’s moving and wholly enthralling. Highly recommended.
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Re: Fish Tank DVD reviews

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:22 am

http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/Fish-Tank-Blu-ray.shtml

Fish Tank Blu-ray Review
By Ian White three and a half stars
The Biggie Award Winner!

The Film

British director Andrea Arnold blew them away at Cannes with this bleak and very intense film about a fifteen year-old girl growing up in the public housing projects of Essex. And comparisons between Fish Tank and the equally bleak Precious are not too far off the mark. Both films featured outstanding performances from their lead actresses, but seventeen year-old Katie Jarvis who was discovered on a train platform by a casting director is way too convincing for this to have been beginner's luck; she already has a child out of wedlock and holds her own with far more experienced adult actors such as Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds).

Jarvis' portrayal of ‘Mia' will leave you disturbed as she makes one poor decision after another with almost tragic consequences; although the ending leaves one with a mild sense of hope for her future. The bleakness of her surroundings is completely overshadowed by the gross indifference of her party-girl mother (a great performance by British actress Kierston Wareing) who doesn't work, drinks, smokes, and is more concerned about fulfilling her sexual needs than taking care of her two daughters. Mia finds inner peace in dancing to hip-hop, but obviously longs to get out of her situation even if that means abandoning her little sister.

Where the film might get a tad uncomfortable for some viewers (this is not a film for young teenagers to watch with their parents) is in a few scenes where both the mother and Mia explore their sexuality; where what's left of Mia's innocence is completely stripped away by the mother's boyfriend (Fassbender) who takes advantage of the young girl while the mother is passed out upstairs. It is an uncomfortable scene to observe, but criticism from some reviewers that ‘Connor' is a pedophile goes a little too far. He is certainly a creep and opportunist, but he actually has no malicious intent toward Mia or her little sister. He represents the "father" figure that all three women desperately need, but he lacks the moral fiber to fill that role and runs away when the situation becomes too complicated. The vulnerability of the three female characters is brilliantly balanced against the nuances of their environment and makes the film feel all too real.

Fish Tank is not a happy film and that is exactly how director Arnold wanted it to play out. It is bleak and often quite shocking; just like real life. Arnold has already won an Oscar for her short film Wasp (2003) and pulls no punches with this amazing bit of cinema. She is clearly a director to keep an eye on in the future.

The Picture

fishtank_1.jpg
Criterion's transfer of the original print which is offered in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio looks fantastic. Arnold's use of natural light is very important to the overall look of the film and helps to illuminate the characters when the events that envelop them are quite dark in nature. There are a number of wonderful shots that show off the bleakness of the county estates, but the cinematography makes them look far less dingy than they probably are in real life. There is a tremendous amount of detail in the film and you can make out every last line in the actor's faces, along with the cracks in the pavement. Blacks are rather solid throughout with excellent shadow detail. The 1080p 24fps transfer has no glaring issues and is up to Criterion's usual standard of excellence when it comes to Blu-ray.

The Sound

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 channal surround track is focused on the two things that matter with this film; dialog and music. The accents are a tad thick and it was nice to not have to strain to understand every last word. There are a few moments where the dialog is hard to discern due to the positioning of the microphone in the room; especially in a pivotal scene between mother and daughter near the end of the film, but overall the sound is quite clear. The surround channels do not get much of a workout, but how many dogs barking in the hallway does one need to hear? Music is Mia's escape from her miserable existence and Arnold wisely chose to push it to the forefront on the soundtrack. There is bass in the mix, but it's not going to give your subwoofer much of a test.

The Extras

Criterion has packed a lot of additional material onto the Blu-ray release, including three short films from Andrea Arnold; Milk (1998), Dog (2001), and her Oscar winning film, Wasp (2003). You can clearly see the progression from the first short to Fish Tank. There is also a video interview from 2010 with Kierston Wareing that offers some insight to the characters, but comes across as slightly off as the actress is all over the place. The audio-only interview with Michael Fassbender contains more useful information, but loses some of its appeal as the audience starts asking him questions that take him away from the subject matter. The most brilliant part of the additional content is the audition footage (which does not include Jarvis); once again proving the point that white people can't dance. If you don't laugh, you're too tightly wound to appreciate the film. A series of beautifully shot production stills round out the additional material. The only thing missing is an interview with Katie Jarvis which would have been quite fascinating to watch.

Final Thoughts

Fish Tank is certainly not a film for everyone. The language and sexual content are important parts of the story and I don't think the film would have resonated with the audience in the same manner, had they been left on the cutting room floor. The entire cast does a superb job, but newcomer Katie Jarvis carries the film on her young, delicate shoulders. If you are looking for a "happy" film where all the nice people get what they want in the end, this is not the film for you. It is a depressing and sensitive film that will touch a nerve. Fantastic filmmaking and a solid audio/video transfer combine with satifying extras to bring us one of the best releases from Criterion Collection in many years.

Product Details:

* Actors: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Charlotte Collins, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths
* Director: Andrea Arnold
* Format: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
* Language: English
* Region: Region 1
* Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
* Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1
* Number of discs: 1
* Rated: Not Rated
* Studio: Criterion Collection
* Release Date: February 22, 2011
* Running Time: 122 minutes
* MSRP: $39.95
* Special Features
o All 3 of Andrea Arnold's short films: Milk, Dog, and Wasp
o New video interview with actress Kierston Wareing
o Audio interview with actor Michael Fassbender from 2009
o Original theatrical trailer
o Production stills
o Audition footage



Where to Buy:

* Fish Tank Blu-ray (Amazon.com)

Overall three and a half stars
Video three and a half stars
Audio three stars
Movie four stars
Extras two and a half stars
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