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Reviews and SPOILERS

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:59 pm

http://www.hauntedflowerreviews.com/Haunted_Flower_Reviews/Reviews/Entries/2010/4/11_Fish_Tank.html

Fish Tank

"Fish Tank" was written and directed by Andrea Arnold. It is a gritty, disturbing coming-of-age story for Mia played by Katie Jarvis, a fifteen year old girl who wishes to be a dancer but lacks raw talent and makes up for it with raw attitude against everyone in her life until the introduction of her mother's new boyfriend, Connor played by Michael Fassbender makes a major impact on her life.

First off, I never deciphered the title. Why Fish Tank? There is a fish in it and some swimming in the water but at no point did I feel this girl was trapped in her life and while she maintained a bit of routine aka swimming in circles, I felt she went through a great deal of journey and changing up of her habits due to new circumstances introduced into her environment so....why?

Granted, not everyone here is deserving of good behavior, in fact all the characters have a dark streak in them and rub each other the wrong way, but her temper is so explosive that it becomes difficult to make excuses for her purely based on environment and genetics. She has a few fleeting moments of happiness and has a very pretty smile in those rare moments but she never holds on to it and pushes it away as if it makes her vulnerable. This is one tough cookies, almost inaccessible to anyone who speaks to her until a particularly hot older man breaks her down.

She is extremely defensive and secretive about her dream until she lets another character deeper into her life. The peeling away of the layers and slowly exposing the depths of her character also reveals ulterior motivations of the others in her family. Jarvis' talent is proven in how unsettling the movie feels until the eventual mild, calm ending.

Either way, the impression is given that he cares about Mia for some reason and encourages her to help her succeed and perhaps the factor that he might be the only person to do that for her wrapped up in a sexy package feeds Mia's hidden desire for him.

The story was riveting and difficult to look away from. It ties your insides up into a knot and stays that way for the two hour duration and is so disturbing that it sticks with you and I have a stomach ache sitting here immediately afterward. The acts were well set up gradually increasing the stakes and suspense and a few scenes I couldn't look away even if I wanted to! The shaky cam was only occasionally distracting and overall served the movie well for realism. The lighting was not always lit in such a way that you could see the characters and the experimentation with light and shadow and focus made the reality take on a different feel adding suspense and confusion. Using these techniques, the film takes on the feel of a waking nightmare while displaying a window into British lower-class.

All that being said, Katie Jarvis' first movie role as Mia was pretty amazing. The unsentimental presence that she stays guarded with throughout is consistent and compelling for a new performer. Her own dream is to be able to dance but her stiff movements and lack of a gift for rhythm makes all of her moves, no matter how rehearsed seem forced and unnatural.

The most enjoyable (if there is something to enjoy here) part of the movie was Michael Fassbender as Connor. Obviously he is an attractive man shirtless but he has an effortless charm and walks the line perfectly between responsible adult and possible lech for a minor. You can't tell what side he is leaning towards because all of his actions and remarks can be seen in both lights and it really keeps you guessing throughout.

Next, the main character Mia is almost impossible to like. The biggest problem is that she is difficult to understand when she is speaking and at least 25% of her lines were lost. She is hostile and spews bile out of her mouth at anyone who even glances at her the wrong way. The littlest thing sets her off and even when someone takes a chance on her and shows her attention, tries to get her to smile and encourages her to pursue her goals, she'll turn on them in a heartbeat.

Check out my review for “Inglourious Basterds” featuring Michael Fassbender

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:18 pm

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20100402/LIVING/4020310/Movie-review-Fish-Tank

Movie review: Fish Tank

DAVID GERMAIN • The Associated Press • April 2, 2010

A bit of guilt comes with watching the British teen drama Fish Tank.

Writer-director Andrea Arnold has created something so real and raw, you may come away with a twinge of guilty voyeurism, a sense of peering too closely and impolitely into other people's lives.

Arnold made a remarkable find with her teen lead, Katie Jarvis, who had not acted before but proves a natural, at least for the sort of honest intensity the filmmaker needed to anchor the story.

The filmmakers say they approached Jarvis after seeing her arguing with her boyfriend on a train platform. Whatever volatility Jarvis displayed in that encounter was channeled, and then some, for her role as 15-year-old Mia, a youth in trouble on all fronts: at home, at school, among the circle of ex-friends that has cast her out as an angry freak.

A teen with dancing aspirations, Mia practices her moves alone in a vacant apartment in the creaky, crumbling housing projects of Essex, east of London. She wanders the deteriorating old industrial town, picking fights with just about anyone she meets, occasionally turning up at the apartment where she lives and bickers with her single mom (Kierston Wareing) and younger sister (Rebecca Griffiths).

Mom's new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender, most recently seen as a British film critic turned spy in Inglourious Basterds), becomes both someone new to confront and an intriguing mix of father figure and dream suitor to Mia.

Fish Tank is hardly an action film, but the drama unfolds like a train wreck waiting to happen, Arnold taking her characters to the brink and beyond as Mia and Connor test the bounds of appropriate behavior involving a teen no longer a girl, not yet a woman.

Unrated but contains scenes of sexuality, teen drinking and smoking. Running time: 122 minutes Critic's rating is 9.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:24 pm

http://lilokpelikula.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/attica-attica-top-films-of-2009-in-one-entry/

14. FISH TANK (Andrea Arnold)

The moment Michael Fassbender walks in, half-dressed and scorching like someone who just kissed the sun, the heat turns the tide. He not only charms; he leaves teeth marks. He carries our young lady to bed, takes off her shoes, pulls her bottoms, and pulls a blanket over her. He sings Bobby Womack’s California Dreamin’ as he drives. He catches fish, he piggybacks, and he knows how to nurse a wound. He’s got a tattoo of an ex’s name on his arm, he dances, he shakes his booty, and he smiles like he could hide his wife and family from us and we’d still forgive him. In short, he bleeds heat. Director Andrea Arnold sure is aware that she’s making the film for us; she’s making Fassbender flirt not only with her Alanis, but also with her audience, his infidelity becoming irrelevant as he is not the concern of the film. It’s not that he is too distracting; it’s just that his testosterone really shakes things up for Mia—the Alanis—and her mother. He is her mother’s boyfriend, after all.

On the other hand, Mia bleeds hate. She is angry like she was born angry. She swears, she sneaks up on her mom, she runs away. She’s Antoine Doinel, except she likes dancing. It’s the only thing that calms her down. Fassbender acts like a father to her, appreciates what she does, and she in return spites him like a kid does when caught sneaking. It’s a relationship reminiscent of Brocka’s Insiang, except the tension is not among the three characters, but concentrated on Mia especially, her being juvenile. But Insiang it is, ugly things happen. And Arnold, in her nifty way of observing, unfolds so with a mix of ease and tantrum. The camera catches the smell of noisy tenements, empty parking lots, and cramped garages; and later on the camera runs crazy when events turn crazy, always intimately present.

What on earth Mia is running away from? What does she want? Why does she hate the world so much she seems to want everyone around her dead? That’s plain to see. Arnold lays all the cards very casually.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 02, 2010 12:07 pm

http://www.video-rental-directory.info/?p=716

May 2, 2010
Fish Tank
Filed under: Latest Video Comments — admin @ 9:17 am

fishtank

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
“Fish Tank” director Andrea Arnold found the star of her movie at a subway station, arguing with her boyfriend. It’s hard to imagine that conversation, but kind of fun to try.

“Hi, you don’t know me, but I’m a film director, and I’d like you to be in my next film.”
“You want me to be in your movie?”
“Yes.”
“Is it a porno?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Well, what’s it about?”
“It’s about…you. Or a girl like you.”
“It’s about me.”
“Yes.”
“Lady, you don’t even know me.”
“Ok, true, but…”

It takes a pretty unique person to say yes to that kind of proposal. And a pretty unique director to lay her entire movie at the feet of a stranger with no acting experience. Thankfully for all of us, the risk pays off. “Fish Tank” has plenty of problems as a film, but none of them have anything to do with Katie Jarvis’ performance. She is razor sharp, angry, energetic, and captivating. As might be expected, she doesn’t act so much as move with purpose across the screen.

Seems like she’s always moving; always looking for a way to escape her present place for somewhere better, though nowhere better is offered most of the time. Jarvis lives in public housing, she’s been kicked out of school; her mother doesn’t appear to work but likes to have parties in her house and shut her daughters upstairs. Jarvis has a 10 year old sister, played by Rebecca Griffiths, whose foul mouth tells us all we need to know about how this family relates to each other. (My favorite line: just after she meets her mom’s new boyfriends, she tells him, “I like you. I’ll kill you last.”)

Jarvis finds an emaciated white horse chained to the ground in a place where no horse ought to be, and tries to free it with a ball-peen hammer. She fails, and so does the metaphor, or at the very least, it feels terribly strained and obvious. She has a passion for hip-hop dance, which she practices alone in an abandoned building, usually while wearing headphones, so no one else can hear the music. She sees an ad calling for dancers, and submits a videotape. She gets a call back and goes to an audition, only to discover they’re auditioning “dancers,” not dancers.

Andrea Arnold fed the script of “Fish Tank” to her characters one scene at a time, meaning even they didn’t know what kind of arc their characters were on. This is risky business, almost as risky as casting non-actors in principle roles. Again, the risk pays off. The cast plays every scene like it’s a critical one, which, really, is how most of us live our lives, isn’t it? You never know which decisions are going to be the ones you regret later, or remember fondly.

Jarvis’ mom gets a new boyfriend, played by Michael Fassbender. He is polite, and patient, and kind; qualities in rare supply around the house. You also get the sense that not many men have been nice to these girls. But is he too nice? There is a fine line between being friendly with your new girlfriend’s 15 year old daughter, and seducing her. Fassbender crosses it, though I don’t believe he does it intentionally; he’s not a pedophile, even if he kind of acts like one.

This sets up the third act, in which everybody freaks out. Fassbender breaks up with the mom, and Jarvis follows him home. Apparently he’s married, with a daughter, who she kidnaps, which sets up a scene along a scary shoreline that feels like it belongs in a different movie; maybe something by the Dardenne brothers. It’s skillfully made, but just entirely different from the rest of “Fish Tank” which feels more akin to a Mike Leigh or Ken Loach film. Like the films from those directors, Arnold’s doesn’t resolve nicely or easily; perhaps like Jarvis’ real life (I’m speculating here, I don’t know anything about her) there aren’t a lot of options or chances at redemption. It’s not like you can expect a fabulous director to appear out of nowhere and make you a big star.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon May 03, 2010 2:57 pm

http://ohonestly.org/blog/?p=565

Fish Tank (2009, UK)
dir. Andrea Arnold, starring Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender
Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia and her impoverished, broken home when her mother brings in a new boyfriend. Made my heart hurt and my jaw drop - it’s gritty realism at its best and most heart-wrenching. Katie Jarvis is a revelation, and her performance is even more amazing given that she was apparently discovered on a train platform where she was, ironically, arguing with her boyfriend. My favorite of the fest. Must see.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue May 04, 2010 1:49 am

http://www.joelcrary.com/?p=5839

Fish Tank

Mia practices a dance routine in "Fish Tank."

(Andrea Arnold, 2009)

May 3, 2010

by Joel Crary

Successful interpretative dance is difficult to nail on film, but when it works, there’s nothing quite like it. A few years back, Ellen Page appeared in a largely unseen film called “Mouth to Mouth,” which featured some outstanding dance sequences that seemed to pop out of nowhere and take its material out of the mundane. They featured a mother and daughter at odds with each other, their arguments mounting until words could no longer express the emotion. Conversation gave way to dance and the film ascended to new realms of communication.

There are scenes in “Fish Tank” that click in the same way. Mia (Katie Jarvis), 15, has a perpetually antagonistic relationship with her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing), an alcoholic welfare case who parties like she’s Mia’s age. They share a moment toward the end of the film in which Joanne dances drunkenly to Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch,” and there’s nothing for Mia and her little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) to do but join in. They mirror each other’s movements, expressing physically the way that they feel trapped in their circumstances. To speak would produce nothing but obscene anger in proud attempts to mask the pain.

Writer/director Andrea Arnold presents these characters in all their filthy glory. Joanne is a mole hill of mascara and past mistakes. Young Tyler is a disaster of a 40-year-old in a 10-year-old’s body, smoking and dropping the dreaded “C” word often enough to make Chloë Grace Moretz blush. Mia, though brash, shows promise. On the streets, she is bold, taller and tougher than the other girls who still attend school and emulate the women they see in hip hop videos on television. There’s an enormous ironic disconnect between the superficial messages of excess in these videos as they provide the only source of light in a pathetic living room littered with empty gin bottles and cigarette butts.

The family is poor in the way Larry Clark’s characters are poor – emotionally, spiritually and ethically before money has a chance to enter into it. The women live in the kind of tenement council housing in Essex County that is about a decade shy of total ruin. Mia practices her dance steps in an abandoned flat plastered with torn and sun-faded wallpaper, looking out over Essex with her shoulders hunched and her breaths arriving in aggravated waves. She returns home and is ordered by her mother to stay in her room like a repressed memory while Joanne hosts unsavoury parties attended by tattooed and tall boy-carting house guests.

A handsome man begins to sleep over, another of Joanne’s failed attempts at getting back the youth that raising her daughters has denied her. Yet Connor (Michael Fassbender) shines a kind of hopeful light, the kind an understanding outsider might cast on people he knows little about. He carries a drunken Mia to her bed, and a tension builds and recedes as he tenderly yet purposefully disrobes her and tucks her in, all to the hypnotic sound of the air entering and exiting Mia’s lungs. Arnold brings an impressive tactility to scenes like this, forcing us to regard the beating of our hearts in the anticipation of a moment’s impropriety.

Hired after spotted in an argument with her boyfriend, actress Katie Jarvis, acned and wound tight, carries the kind of innocence that exists separately from foul language, alcoholism and fist fights. Bruises and poisons are one thing, but a sexual awakening is another in the way we realize there’s no going back. When Connor stands in a stream, inviting Mia to advance slowly toward him so that he may grab a fish with his bare hands, there is a streak of reticence otherwise unseen in the tough girl act that a lot of young women adopt as an identity at one time or another. Later, the fish will gasp for air on the shore and succumb its life force to a sharply inserted branch.

Fish in a tank live on, yet swim in circles under the illusion that it’s all there is to life. What is the greater tragedy? Though at times heavy-handed, Arnold’s metaphors become the film’s real treat, elevating the narrative out of its coming-of-age melodrama and into something artful. A shackled horse amongst urban decay provides a type of surreal beauty while expressing Mia’s compassion. And I was taken aback by Arnold’s third-act direction. The material takes a haunting turn as Mia leads her own childhood to be battered across treacherous terrain, though a floating heart balloon is perhaps one obligatory “look at this, ain’t this symbolic” gesture too many.

Most American dance movies settle in an overdone climactic competition where the music is hot and the outfits are hotter. Arnold has paid too much attention and respect to her devices to treat them with that kind of disrespect. Here, dance proceeds organically out of emotion and appetite, seeming like a physical reaction to a hard way of living instead of a hackneyed hidden talent. Indeed, the climatic competition is a seedy, bad dream inversion of “Honey” or “Step Up.” The result makes the point that dance is purely a tool to communicate Mia’s crossover into adulthood, disenchanting realizations and all.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 05, 2010 7:35 pm

http://feriafilms.blogspot.com/2010/05/fish-tank-2009.html

Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Fish Tank (2009)
Andrea Arnold's sophomore feature Fish Tank is a wondrous little bubble of a film: with only a handful of characters and locations, you can feel the way Mia's (Katie Jarvis) life is crashing down on her even as it expands.

A would-be dancer, she hides out in a empty nearby apartment, drinking and coming up with new routines. She's good -- or at least better than her neighbours --, but you can tell she knows that she might not be good enough to make anything of it. Then her mum (Kierston Waering) brings Connor (Michael Fassbender) home, and it's game over. Mia's just beginning to test the power of her sexuality, and you can actually see Fassbender run Connor through mental calisthenics just to figure out how to deal with her.

Something expected happens, then something unexpected. It doesn't exactly go off the rails; Arnold and Jarvis have a firm grip on Mia throughout. But for a quiet, slow moving film like this one (at least four people walked out of the screening I attended, though that may have been the profanity), it doesn't sit well until the final moments. Maybe when getting out is the point, how you get out doesn't matter. B
Posted by April at 9:47 AM

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 1:21 am

http://www.vueweekly.com/article.php?id=14956

Week of May 6, 2010, Issue #759
FISH TANK: The depths of adolescence
Fish Tank excels as a risky drama

Jonathan Busch / jonathan@vueweekly.com

There are teen movies, and movies about teenagers—two genres in almost complete opposition to one another, due to what grown-ups deem is appropriate for a juvenile audience. Differing portrayals of sex, drug use and domestic violence help frame either kind of film as though a specific message were being delivered to its respective audiences, one looking for representations of themselves and the other perhaps seeking an poignant scheme of their own reality. In the end, either crowd may very well end up watching both films regardless of their ages, and the tortured subject of teenagehood gets pulled back and forth between them like a child of a bitter divorce.

In Fish Tank, acclaimed British director Andrea Arnold attempts to meld the conflicting forces, containing a teenage world of both identifiable angst and an apparent lack of maternal hope and nurturing. Mia (newcomer Katie Travis), a 15-year-old tough girl expelled from school, lives in a cramped public housing estate with her self-obsessed mother and younger sister. Spending most of her time hatching a breakdance routine and scoring cheap beer, she takes sudden interest in Mom's new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) as both a potential father figure and secret crush.

At first, Connor is intrigued and endeared by Mia's dysfunctional independence, though as we witness their interactions solely through her perspective, the nature of his interest in her is uncertain. In a way, her attraction to him draws her momentarily closer with her family, not to mention some realization of her mother's emotional instability and resentment of her children. It is here Fish Tank excels as an ambiguously risky adult drama, trapping its vulnerable protagonist in a danger zone of adult sexuality that is unmistakably seductive.

After a series of physical confrontations occur, Mia finds herself intently pursuing Connor, to a point where she discovers more about him than he wants her family to know. He attempts to pull back, despite having remarkably reached out by lending her a CD and video camera for a dance audition, and only until she chooses to act out irrationally can they really both be held responsible for the conflict.

Fish Tank hinges a tad on a Lolita-esqe discomfort within its gritty style of indie melodrama, and surprisingly frees itself from the easy shock by empowering its character with the hopefulness of a bittersweet teen dance contest narrative. Arnold, a 2005 short film Oscar winner who won Cannes Jury Prizes for this film and one prior (Red Road), is so deeply in touch with the heart of youth culture, she maps out Mia's journey with enough dark character twists that we're really not sure who the movie is for. Let it be said that the question of who Fish Tank is addressing is one of the film's strongest knots to untie, but due to a few explicit scenes and a couple dozen F-words, the crowd most likely to identify with Mia may have to do so behind closed doors. V

Fri, May 7 – Mon, May 10 (9 pm)
Fish Tank
written and directed by Andrea Arnold
starring Katie Travis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing
Metro Cinema (9828 - 101A Ave)
4 stars

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 1:23 am

http://honoluluweekly.com/film/current-film/2010/05/swimming-not-drowning/

Film Reviews
Swimming, not drowning
The U.K.’s Fish Tank is flawed but memorable
Bob Green
May 5, 2010
Fish Tank
Comes with video

Fish Tank / Mia is l5, a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking near-delinquent living in the Essex housing projects with her drunken, party-loving single mother and her sarcastic younger sister. She’s not above theft in order to get the things she loves. She ditches appointments with her social worker, steals from her mother’s macho-sleaze boyfriends and dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the kind she’s seen in videos and on tv. Fights are the order of the day, every day, with screaming and door-slamming and name-calling in the grim, no-exit world she inhabits and hates.

And so begins Andrea Arnold’s prize-winning Fish Tank, a cinéma-vérité, “kitchen sink” naturalistic movie that moves in, close and personal, on these lives, and doesn’t seem to miss a beat We focus on Mia (Katie Jarvis in her acting debut) because she is still able to slough off her family and social bleakness because despair hasn’t set in–yet. She’s still cocky and tough, but things are about to get worse.

Enter Momma’s new boyfriend Connor (the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender), a personable stud of certain charms (he has a car and a video camera and looks good shirtless). He’s smarter, too, than those her blowzy, raddled mother usually chooses, and Mia is taken by his smart-ass palaver. The two forge a real friendship, which serves, in this context, only to reinforce irony. Mia still has nothing and is going nowhere. We see her audition for a job as a “dancer” in a men’s club, and this, too, produces disillusion. Life is teaching Mia methodically now, and despair is closing in.

You can guess, we guess, what happens next. In a gritty, loveless minute or two, Connor seduces Mia and initiates her into the world her mother inhabits. Momma, usually passed out, doesn’t suspect a thing. This film, notable for its frank sexual talk and action, smooths nothing over.

Fish Tank hints from time to time that Mia is beginning to wise up, beginning to see beyond the bleakness for something, somewhere better than that she’s getting.

The film features several memorable scenes that in other hands wouldn’t have worked at all. Mia’s dance audition, which she walks out on, is unflinchingly seedy, and alerts the 15-year-old about where her future might be heading. A fishing trip with her family and Connor takes on ironic dimensions: It’s the family Mia never had, and, she suspects, never will. The seduction scene between Connor and Mia is absolutely credible, and quite detailed in the liberated way of our new movies.

The performances are what make this movie soar: Jarvis and Fassbender are just about perfect, as is Kierston Wareing as the wasted, ruined mother. Within the atmospherics provided by director Arnold, the blasted, ugly landscapes are perfect correlatives for the internal states of its characters.

It’s a grim ride, but Fish Tank could be a wake-up call for the right kind of audience. No doubt, most of it has the ring of real authenticity, the real deal about poverty and pop culture.

If you’re tough-minded. see it. If not, not.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 1:43 am

http://ocinema.blogs.sapo.pt/175312.html

« post anterior | home
Quarta-feira, 5 de Maio de 2010
Estreias - Realismo urbano à inglesa

Foi a grande revelação do ano em Inglaterra. Um dos ganhadores do último Fantas. Um retrato cru do cinzentismo urbano britânico numa era de encruzilhadas. Fish Tank é um acerto em toda a linha.

Andrew Arnold é um cineasta dos tempos modernos. Não tem nada a ver com a escola dos Angry Young Man e as suas obras (que logo, inevitavelmente se tornaram em filmes), sobre a angustia urbana da classe operária na Inglaterra de meados de 50. Aqui o cinzentismo urbano adolescente dos "brits" é outro. A angustia também. Mas o vazio humano não varia. Na história de Mia, como de tantos outros anti-heróis do passado, o medo de viver suplanta tudo o resto.

A jovem adolescente de 15 anos encontra-se num beco sem saída. Expulsa da escolha, espera a autorização legal para fazer os exames que lhe permitam concluir o ensino preparatório. Em casa vive com uma irmã sobredotada, que a despreza, e uma mãe que não suporta. Os seus dias passa-os no vazio das paisagens verdes cinzentas de Essex. De repente a mãe arranja um novo namorada, um jovem irlandês, e o ciume da jovem ganha novas formas. Roubar o homem da mãe torna-se uma obsessão. Mas estará ela disposta a viver com o peso da culpa em cima? Será a sua vida tão limitada como a existência de um peixe num aquário?
\
Notavelmente dirigido, o filme conta com uma espantosa performance de Katie Jarvis, a revelação do ano a par de Carey Mulligan. No elenco estão ainda Rebeca Griffiths e Michael Fassbender, dois nomes seguros do cinema inglês actual. Poucas vezes um filme é tão certeiro. Poucas vezes um filme é tão honesto. Fish Tank é ambos. E ainda poderia ser mais!

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 06, 2010 1:22 pm

http://www.seemagazine.com/article/screen/screen-feature/fishtank-0506/

So You Think You Can Dance
Fish Tank’s Mia might try, but this working class Essex girl doesn’t stand a chance
Published May 6, 2010 by Michael Hingston

Katie Jarvis cuts a rug in Fish Tank.

Fish Tank
Written and directed by Andrea Arnold
Starring Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender
Metro Cinema
May 7-10
****

Fifteen-year-old Mia Williams lives in a dumpy, working-class apartment block in Essex, and she doesn’t exactly have a bright future awaiting her. She’s foul-mouthed, violent, and a drop-out. She gets routinely
berated by her hard-partying mother, and, thanks to an impulsive headbutting incident, her best friend has ditched her. The only truly bright spot in Mia’s life is her love of hip-hop dancing. Most days she packs up her Discman and a couple of tiny speakers, and heads off to an empty apartment to shake her cares away.

There’s only one problem: Mia’s kind of a bad dancer.

I mean, she’s not awful. She’s just okay. Compared to other girls her age, she’s probably above average — in other words, about as good as an untrained, raised-on-Ja-Rule-featuring-Ashanti-music-videos girl can be expected to be.

A lesser film than Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank would make Mia a superstar in waiting, someone so full of god-given talent that she couldn’t possibly have grown up where and how the film purports she does. No, Arnold’s Mia is a tragic figure: someone who might have the drive to achieve, but who’s been too poisoned by her surroundings to ever have a real chance at making it.

The dancing angle is just one of the ways the film shows an appropriately bleak understanding of what’s possible when you’re broke, uneducated, and surrounded by bottom-feeding predators.

In the world of Fish Tank, even the slightest shred of ambition makes you a target of ridicule. Got five quid? Buy a few beers and shut up.

Things get a little more complicated for Mia (Katie Jarvis) when her mom brings home Connor (Michael Fassbender), a mustachioed Lothario who’s a little more rugged than her usual boyfriend material. Mia calls Connor a cunt to his face, but secretly is fascinated by him. Connor’s own handle on the situation is a little harder to read: when he offers her a piggyback ride, or tucks her into bed after she’s passed out, is there something more sinister at play?

Fassbender and Jarvis both give able but inscrutable performances as the leads; indeed, the standard expression in Fish Tank is a poker face. Arnold zooms her camera in nice and close, but to no avail. All of the key information is doled out in glances and instants.

A big part of the film’s sense of unease comes from how cannily Arnold handles the question of underage sexuality. Are we meant to see a 15-year-old like Mia as a legitimate erotic object, or as an insecure child playing dress-up?

This is a big question — one that our society as a whole can’t seem to make up its mind about — and when Connor finally makes his move, there’s no doubt as to which side of the fence Arnold comes down on.

From there, things spiral even further out of control, though rarely in ways you’ll completely see coming. And Arnold keeps a steady hand throughout, until you realize that in the end the true villain isn’t any one person — it’s the whole goddamned town, pollution and cursing and thieves and backstabbers and absentee parents and all.

If the Essex tourism board wanted to sue everyone involved with this film, they’d probably have a pretty good case.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 09, 2010 9:50 pm

http://sonofcelluloid.blogspot.com/2010/05/fish-tank-2009.html

Sunday, 9 May 2010
Fish Tank (2009)
Dir: ANDREA ARNOLD
Country: UK

At the moment the political landscape of Britain is marked by uncertainty and ambiguity. Last week the citizens of this fair isle voted in increased numbers and the result was a lack of majority for any of the three main parties. The new incumbent in Downing Street is almost certain to be David Cameron, once he and his party can find some consensus with the Liberal Democrats. Cameron has been criticised as being a figure lacking substance, at his centre an artificiality constructed through sound bytes. One of his phrases which kept recurring to me whilst I watched Fish Tank was the notion of a ‘broken Britain’. Cameron has pledged to repair something that his opposition claims isn’t broken at all. But Andrea Arnolds searing examination of life on a grim and featureless council estate would suggest that Cameron has much work to do to fulfil his claim.

The film follows Mia Williams (Katie Jarvis) has she comes to terms with both the frustrations of her age and developing sexuality, and the restrictive claustrophobic environment she finds herself in. The title of the film is an obvious metaphor for her situation, and her response to this is anger, aggression, alcohol consumption, but also escape into the realm of dance - a redeeming territory in which Mia is at peace with the world around her. Like everything in this film reality is soon on hand to shatter the good things though, her dancing is tainted when an advert for dancers turns out to be an audition for strip club performers. Mia is friendless and fatherless, without the supportive clutch of a school environment and the sense of belonging to a peer group. Despite her prickly exterior (this includes head butting a neighbouring girl and a truly foul mouth) this fifteen year old just wants a sense of acceptance and belonging. Instead she finds herself disenfranchised, but without the means to break free from the fish tank she finds herself stuck in.

To make matters even more complicated her sluttish mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) who dismisses her daughter as a cunt in an early scene has hooked up with enigmatic Irishman Connor (Michael Fassbender). Like all the characters in this film Connor isn’t what he seems. Initially at least he is warm hearted and enthusiastically joins this broken family, but it turns out he is taking advantage of the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of two females craving different things. It is a heartbreaking but predictable moment when we discover after he has had sex with the underage Mia that he lives on a nice estate and has a family. There is a suggestion of class exploitation here, but the film doesn’t dwell on it excessively. Events afterward almost spiral into tragedy, but Mia realises that her chances of escape would truly be destroyed should she pursue her vengeance further.

This is a different brand of social realism to that usually expressed by British filmmakers. For a start it focuses quite consistently on an individual, and chooses not to comment on the environment, instead focusing on the psychological vulnerabilities of the characters. This is a refreshing position that Arnold takes and the result of this is a greater alliance with traditions of European art cinema. The film doesn’t linger on grimness, the council estate and its surroundings is shot in a matter of fact manner, and no formal techniques are used to make it any worse than it is. In fact on occasion the film shows beauty in the most unlikely of places. Arnold seems to be well aware that in past examples of socially committed British cinema the spaces and locations function as characters in themselves, instead Fish Tank is resolute in its attention to human characters. The symbolism of a tethered horse which Mia tries to set free is a bit of a clanger in its obviousness, as is the news that the horse has been put down because of old age - in this case 16, the age Mia is about to become. But these are trifling criticisms. A measure of the outlook of this type of film is usually signified by closure. In this case Mia ends the film driving away to a new life in Cardiff, but her departure scene with her family is strange and unsettling and is in no way upbeat or positive. There is the lingering sensation that Mia is merely running from a life that will drag her back, most likely through the possibility of teen pregnancy and repeating the cycle that her mother finds herself in. This is a challenging and important film, and at times genuinely upsetting, and a prescient statement which seems to confirm Cameron’s conception of the deprivation in inner city and urban environments in the United Kingdom.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 12, 2010 12:26 am

http://cinevaluator.troyano.com/2010/05/fish-tank.html

martes 11 de mayo de 2010
Fish Tank
I read some good reviews about this film. It has some nominations for the European cinema awards and it won the Bafta award to the best film last year 2009. The director Andrea Arnold made a brilliant work showing some points about the real life, and filming a kind of social cinema quite similar to the work of Ken Loach.

The film takes place in the suburbs of London and it shows a lot of very interesting things like, for example, the life of a worker family, the lack of communication and the respect, the facing up to deception, and specially the contradictions of the adolescence or the looking for a place in the world. The young actress Katie Jarvis is a real hurricane and her work is amazing. She supports the 80% of the movie and the result is very good. One of the other actors, Michael Fassbender, appears making also a great work in the movie.

For me, this is the best film of this week. Without a doubt I’ll follow the career of this director. Brilliant movie.

My score: 9 (out of 10)
Publicado por Miguel en 11:23

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 12, 2010 9:33 pm

http://cinematicpontifications.blogspot.com/2010/05/2010-so-far.html

Fish Tank
This is a gritty slice-of-life film about a teen-age girl living in a rough neighborhood in England. The performances from the lead actress, Katie Jarvis, and the great Michael Fassbender are incredibly substantive, mournful, and believable. There are certainly moments towards the end that delve into some unfortunate stereotypical story elements, but overall this film is fantastic and well worth seeing. I was able to catch it on IFC In Theaters On Demand.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 12, 2010 10:11 pm

http://www.gonnawatchit.com/2010/05/02/fish-tank/
Fish Tank

fishtank

Rating: ★★★☆☆
“Fish Tank” director Andrea Arnold found the star of her movie at a subway station, arguing with her boyfriend. It’s hard to imagine that conversation, but kind of fun to try.

“Hi, you don’t know me, but I’m a film director, and I’d like you to be in my next film.”
“You want me to be in your movie?”
“Yes.”
“Is it a porno?”
“No, nothing like that.”
“Well, what’s it about?”
“It’s about…you. Or a girl like you.”
“It’s about me.”
“Yes.”
“Lady, you don’t even know me.”
“Ok, true, but…”

It takes a pretty unique person to say yes to that kind of proposal. And a pretty unique director to lay her entire movie at the feet of a stranger with no acting experience. Thankfully for all of us, the risk pays off. “Fish Tank” has plenty of problems as a film, but none of them have anything to do with Katie Jarvis’ performance. She is razor sharp, angry, energetic, and captivating. As might be expected, she doesn’t act so much as move with purpose across the screen.

Seems like she’s always moving; always looking for a way to escape her present place for somewhere better, though nowhere better is offered most of the time. Jarvis lives in public housing, she’s been kicked out of school; her mother doesn’t appear to work but likes to have parties in her house and shut her daughters upstairs. Jarvis has a 10 year old sister, played by Rebecca Griffiths, whose foul mouth tells us all we need to know about how this family relates to each other. (My favorite line: just after she meets her mom’s new boyfriends, she tells him, “I like you. I’ll kill you last.”)

Jarvis finds an emaciated white horse chained to the ground in a place where no horse ought to be, and tries to free it with a ball-peen hammer. She fails, and so does the metaphor, or at the very least, it feels terribly strained and obvious. She has a passion for hip-hop dance, which she practices alone in an abandoned building, usually while wearing headphones, so no one else can hear the music. She sees an ad calling for dancers, and submits a videotape. She gets a call back and goes to an audition, only to discover they’re auditioning “dancers,” not dancers.

Andrea Arnold fed the script of “Fish Tank” to her characters one scene at a time, meaning even they didn’t know what kind of arc their characters were on. This is risky business, almost as risky as casting non-actors in principle roles. Again, the risk pays off. The cast plays every scene like it’s a critical one, which, really, is how most of us live our lives, isn’t it? You never know which decisions are going to be the ones you regret later, or remember fondly.

Jarvis’ mom gets a new boyfriend, played by Michael Fassbender. He is polite, and patient, and kind; qualities in rare supply around the house. You also get the sense that not many men have been nice to these girls. But is he too nice? There is a fine line between being friendly with your new girlfriend’s 15 year old daughter, and seducing her. Fassbender crosses it, though I don’t believe he does it intentionally; he’s not a pedophile, even if he kind of acts like one.

This sets up the third act, in which everybody freaks out. Fassbender breaks up with the mom, and Jarvis follows him home. Apparently he’s married, with a daughter, who she kidnaps, which sets up a scene along a scary shoreline that feels like it belongs in a different movie; maybe something by the Dardenne brothers. It’s skillfully made, but just entirely different from the rest of “Fish Tank” which feels more akin to a Mike Leigh or Ken Loach film. Like the films from those directors, Arnold’s doesn’t resolve nicely or easily; perhaps like Jarvis’ real life (I’m speculating here, I don’t know anything about her) there aren’t a lot of options or chances at redemption. It’s not like you can expect a fabulous director to appear out of nowhere and make you a big star.

By gonnawatchit
May 2, 2010

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 16, 2010 3:45 pm

http://joemwblogs.blogspot.com/2010/05/films-i-saw-in-march.html

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009)
Excellent British social drama, benefits greatly from newcomer Katie Jarvis' central performance about a teenage girl on an Essex council estate who forms an unhealthy association with her mothers' boyfriend (Michael Fassbender). The film is very grim at times, but is not without a sense of hope in the end. The performances are all outstanding, and the script and film as a whole is very believable.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by MissL on Sun May 16, 2010 3:47 pm

very believable

she it is will a bit

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 16, 2010 3:59 pm

definitely, she was believable because she came from that kind of a place.

http://pickadolla.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/movie-review-fish-tank-uk-2010/

Movie Review – “Fish Tank” (UK 2010)
Posted by olagill under Film, Review | Tags: Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank |
Leave a Comment

“Fish Tank” is set in a slightly runned down suburban working class town somewhere in England. 15 year old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a loner. She has become alienated from her friends and expelled from school due to her obnoxious behaviour. Her home environment is hardly helping her to feel wanted or needed with a mother that cares more about drinking, listening to music and meeting men. Mias only outlet and passion in life is to practice dance moves in an abandoned flat. Her dream is to become a professional r & b/hip hop dancer, even if she has a long way to get there. One day her mother brings home a new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender). He is different from all the other men her mother has met. He shows an interest in Mia and her sister and he becomes the father figure they miss. But, for Mia he becomes more when he gives her emotional attention. He becomes as well an attractive man in her eyes despite the age difference. Things becomes complicated and Mia will have to steer her life into a new path.

This is without no doubt a perfect example of an emotional and strong piece of film that sweeps you into the movie itself. The direction has brought out an almost documentary outcome that feels very real and raw. Katie Jarvis is for what I have understood, more or less just playing herself and she is very convincing. And Michael Fassbender keeps impressing me. This is the fourth movie I have seen with him and believe me, he has a solid acting future ahead of him. His acting is so natural and good, that he makes it look like he is not really doing that much when he does act. The rest of the actors is doing a fine job as well in “Fish Tank”. Some scenes stand out more than others and one I particularly think of is when Mia has kidnapped Connors daughter Keira (Sydney Mary Nash) and manage to almost drown her. This scene just grasped me and took me to a very high emotional level. Sydney Mary Nash was outstanding in that scene. Director/Writer Andrea Arnold deserves all the awards she has gotten so far for “Fish Tank”. I am looking forward to see more from her in the future. A solid 4 out of 5.

Trailer: http://bit.ly/11ccEc

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 16, 2010 4:08 pm

http://tonnerredebrest.blogspot.com/2010/05/fish-tank-2009.html

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Fish Tank (2009).

[via La Butaca]

Fish Tank is a British film by director Andrea Arnold that I watched last week. When I was seeing it all, I didn't feel comfortable, but at the end, it was rounded and my feelings changed. I'm not sure, but I think it is a great movie.

It is about a 15 year old Mia (Katie Harvis) living in Essex with his chaotic and struggled life. There is no parental figure to help her mature, as her mother seems to have as much problems as her daughters.

In this disregard situation, a man, Connor (Michael Fassbender) turns everything outside down, from the promising father-like position (being their mother's lover) to a certain feeling that he is as lost as Mia, her sister and her mother. I'm not going to spoil you the movie, but you must understand that everyone in this story is as fragile as the other one.

It is a real social drama (reading some critics, the Trifaud's 400 Blows was mentioned), so authentic that it gave no release. It is pure reality through the inquisitive crystal of fiction.


From the beginning one can see that this social lower-class background is hurting every character in this play. But they have so complex personalities that they could spawn their lives as much as the can. Some mistakes seems to be evident (trying to free a dying horse, doing an audition at a wrong place, and so on) but you keep moving along the story as you care for the characters.

[via La Butaca]


The movie did well at Cannes last year and at the BAFTA. And that was great. The movie deserve it.

What I'm not into it is the idea that having actors with no acting experience is good to give a fresh point of view to a film production. If the director trust in professionals in the technical part of the film, why is an inexperience actor a good option to any movie?

But in this case, Katie Jarvis is a good option. She is great, she is a natural and you care about her from minute one. I hope to see her in other movies, because she could grow into a capital actress. But it was a risky option by Andrea Arnold. She won this time, but it could be a fiasco. As I said, I don't agree with this vision of novel actors as the best possible choose.

As I said before, I don't know if I should recommend this film, but I think it is a good movie and you should give it a try if you can.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 16, 2010 11:00 pm

http://alleynews.org/2010/05/fish-tank-repo-man/

Fish Tank

by Howard McQuitter

Fish Tank (2009)
****
Lagoon
Drama
Running time: 123 minutes
Director: Andrea Arnold
Unrated

The movie starts rather slowly, but the plot becomes more clear as the main character Mia (Katie Jarvis) waddles through meaning her life at age 15. She feels trapped by her environment in the projects in an English city. Her mother Joanne (Kiersten Wareino), is a blond busty woman who loves to party and dance.

Mia’s little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffins) plays around the tenement though she would often prefer following Mia around. Joanne’s boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender of “Inglorious Basterds” and “Hunger”) seems okay, a happy-go-lucky guy with a job at a factory.

The film is seen through the eyes of Misa, a school drop out, teased by boys in the neighborhood and she’s a loner. She often uses a vacant apartment above her own to practice break-dancing while watching break-dance videos. She tries to free a horse but is physically confronted by gypsy boys. Much like Mike Leigh’s films on English working class alienation, Arnold’s “Fish Tank” depicts the alienation of Mia in particular, but the characters in general.

“Fish Tank” won the jury prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Andrea Arnold (“Red Road) won an Oscar for her 2003 short “Wasp”. She picks a cockney Katie Jarvis, her debut, for “Fish Tank” a mesmerizing performance by the 18 year old.

The sexual undertones by Connor toward Mia are very, very subtle. Connor’s fetish is a case of Euphebophilia, not pedophila. “Fish Tank” can be said to be a much milder version of “Precious” with the characters being Caucasians.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 16, 2010 11:01 pm

http://thisblogisnotyettitled.blogspot.com/2010/05/live-fish.html

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Live fish
Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank follows 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), a product of British housing projects and a torrent of fury and confusion (within the first few minutes of the film she gets in roughly five fights, both verbal and physical). The main plot thread involves a dangerous relationship with her trashy mom's (Kierston Wareing) new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).
The premise might seem like one that has been explored to death--how many times have we seen angsty, impoverished youth struggle to find themselves? But Arnold's knack for gritty realism makes her film stand out.
Jarvis' performance is nothing short of incredible, and beyond impressive given that she is not a professional actor. Discovered in a subway station having a screaming fight with her boyfriend, her Mia is messy and uncalculated. Her lack of acting experience seems, in this case, to be her greatest strength, for she conveys all of Mia's twisting emotions with the veracity of living it.
The fact that none of the actors are well-known (the most recognizable being Fassbender, after his role in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds) makes Fish Tank all the more credible. The same movie with famous faces would have been ridiculous; instead, their relative anonymity helps solidify its authenticity.
To top it all off, Arnold gave the script to her actors in pieces, so that, while filming, none of them would know what was in store for their characters. Though not a common practice, this seems an obvious recipe for success in this genre. A bunch of people who don't know what's coming next... sounds a whole lot like real life, doesn't it?
Posted by Isa at 12:29 PM

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon May 17, 2010 6:23 pm

http://blog.quickflix.com.au/2010/05/all-young-dudettes-fish-tank-review.html

17 May 2010
All the young dudettes - Fish Tank review

Fish Tank - Starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender and Kierston Wareing. Directed by Andrea Arnold. Rated MA. By Simon Miraudo.

In the past twelve months, we’ve been treated to plenty of pictures in which men (yes, that group of wonderful, Y chromosome-having dudes that I consider myself one of) destroy the lives of perfectly pleasant women. In An Education, our young protagonist Jenny is treated rather unfairly by her older suitor, but she finds herself all the wiser for having had the distasteful experience anyway. In Precious, our eponymous heroine is subjected by her father to the kinds of unspeakable abuse that make me want to surrender my private parts in protest (believe me, that is no small gesture – I’m rather attached to them). And in Antichrist, the soft-spoken female lead (not-so-subtly referred to as She) is subjected to years of understated psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband. She responds in the most sensible manner possible: the forcible mutilation and removal of both of their genitals.

Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank features a 15-year-old troublemaker named Mia (Katie Jarvis) that falls somewhere in between these three disparate characters – although pleasant is not the first adjective that springs to mind when attempting to describe her . She spends her days wandering around her East London council estate, breaking into property, starting fights, getting loaded and displaying a flair for imaginative swearing that would make In the Loop’s Malcolm Tucker blush with embarrassment. Her mother (Kierston Wareing) has no time for her; she’s more concerned with new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender), a charming Irishman who shows a genuine interest in Mia’s life, even encouraging her aspiration to be a professional dancer. She develops a crush on him, and is not exactly private about her feelings. Neither is he. I would say spoiler alert, but you can probably guess where this relationship is heading.

What is interesting about Fish Tank is that it never stoops to judge its characters; not the angry Mia, not her drunken mother, or even the (wildly) inappropriate Connor. Arnold handles these potentially despicable characters with expert finesse, taking a leaf out of fellow countryman Shane Meadow’s playbook (the film also features a similar visual style to This is England and Somers Town). This finesse is not to be mistaken for sympathy, or even forgiveness. Arnold knows that we don’t need to be told that these characters make mistakes (some devastating); we can figure it out for ourselves.

Jarvis was spotted by Arnold having an argument with her boyfriend at a train station; a tiff that would end up seeing her cast in the film’s lead role. She is electric as Mia; genuinely surprising at every turn and vulnerable when necessary. The film pulsates along with the throbbing anger that emanates from the very fiber of her being. In the picture’s final half hour, her fury darts around like a stray bullet ricocheting from wall to wall. You cannot tear your eyes away. Michael Fassbender meanwhile is building an intriguing career for himself, playing characters that make decisions you or I never would, but still convincing us that he understands why he does them.

As a male reviewer, I have at times been accused by female readers of not understanding what it is like to be a woman, and therefore, unfit to discuss pictures about women (it should be noted that these complaints were raised when I criticised - brutally - Twilight and The Ugly Truth). And you know what? Those female readers are absolutely right. I will never understand what it is like to be a woman, considering I'm a 22-year-old male and all. Nor will I ever know what it’s like to be black, or French, or even Na’vi. But if anything can help me achieve a better understanding, it is storytelling, and in this case, it is film.

Decrying the leads of Sex and the City as ‘vapid’ does not make me anti-feminism, nor does accusing Bella from Twilight of being ‘an empty shell beholden to two abusive males’ mean I am about to write a modern update of The Female Eunuch. With that in mind, I celebrate Arnold’s Fish Tank, and specifically the depiction of her young lead. Mia is not treated like an overly clever ingénue (as in An Education) or as a pious, almost impossibly well-adjusted soul (as in Precious) or worse, as Bella Swan. She is silly, and mean, and reckless, and young. She makes terrible decisions at almost every turn, and she does indeed incite the passions of her mother’s boyfriend. But she’s achingly real and flawed. Female experience/male experience, whatever. This is about the human experience. Insignificant people leading insignificant lives, trapped in their very own inescapable fish tanks: financial, emotional, and when you look at their stifling council estate flats, literal.

4/5

Fish Tank opens in Australian cinemas May 27.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed May 19, 2010 10:30 pm

http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=21413

When adults fail children
Tim Kroenert May 20, 2010

Fish Tank (MA). Writer/Director: Andrea Arnold. Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing. Running time: 123 minutes

Katie Jarvis, Fish TankFish Tank is a hard film to watch. It's a laconic, no frills drama — too long, but no less affecting and memorable for it — about the life of a troubled English teen, Mia (Jarvis). Troubled is definitely the word: the film takes us into uncomfortable corners of the cramped and grimy glass tank of Mia's life. Fish Tank is shot in hand-held digital video, giving rougher edges to the already rough working class Essex world in which she lives.

Mia is a precocious, ferocious teenager. Not fearless, but she masks hurt and fear with fury. During a fight with a peer, she delivers a swift head butt to the other girl's face before striding righteously away. Her interactions with her uncaring flake of a single mother, Joanne (Wareing) are verbally rather than physically violent; in this case, Mia's language would be repulsive if she did not get as good as she gave.

But Mia is also compassionate. When she sees a sickly horse chained up in an abandoned lot, she jumps the rickety cyclone fence and attempts to set the beast free. The childlikeness of this kind gesture (after all, what young girl would not be moved by the plight of a horse?) is cut short: the horse's owners, two grown and brutish men, suddenly appear and begin to menace Mia. They attack her, but, viciously, she fights them off (not bad for a 15-year-old girl), and flees.

Life begins to change for Mia when Joanne brings home a new boyfriend, Connor (Fassbender). Mia hits it off with this extroverted Irishman. He encourages Mia with her dream to become a dancer. His treatment of her is somewhere sex-ward of fatherly. The feeling is mutual, and even actively encouraged by Mia. Then again, she is only 15, and he supposedly is a responsible adult.

The film plies a murky fog of sexual ethics, but its portrayal of Connor and Mia's deeply ambiguous attraction is captivating. A scene where Connor carries Mia, who pretends to sleep, to her bedroom and removes her jeans — gently, so as not to wake her — in order to put her into bed, finds a surprisingly fine line between tender and predatory. This kind of subtle, breathless stuff is Fish Tank at its best.

Debut actor Jarvis' performance is astonishing. During the worst moments that confront Mia, Jarvis channels tragedy into barrages of righteous fury. Circumstances and unbridled emotion eventually turn Mia almost monstrous, but we never lose sight of the child within. She has been failed and damaged by people who should care; people who, if not actively protecting her from harm, should at least refrain from harming her themselves. So although we can't forgive all her sins, we can understand them.

The film is a condemnation of irresponsible adults, not of misbehaving youths. The damage to Mia is not yet total. She can be safe, if she can first get free. That entails making some right, difficult choices. But that can be hard to do when you are an adolescent with no wise adult to guide you

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu May 20, 2010 4:11 pm

http://burning-reels.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-is-2010-shaping-up-for-you.html

Fish Tank
I readily admit to having seen very little of what the cinematic world has to offer lately but this small British gem set on a London council estate has an excellent energy mostly driven by lead actress and film debutant Katie Jarvis and current critical favourite Michael Fassbender. Whilst the film does occasionally lose it's essence and stray close to the borders of cliche, strong characters and performances ensure a memorable experience. Director Andrea Arnold is hopefully part of a British film revival along with Steve McQueen (Hunger) and the ever reliable Mike Leigh and Shane Meadows. Leigh is currently receiving mostly high praise for his latest work, Another Year, currently playing in the Palme d'Or field at Cannes. We should all take that cinematic Mecca to Cannes one day, right?!
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun May 23, 2010 11:38 pm

Ok, I decided that 30 pages of 15 posts a page is a little too long. So we'll close this one, and open another one.

And I won't keep threads opened this long. I think 10 pages is long enough.

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