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Fish Tank Reviews part 2

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:48 pm

http://www.impassionedcinema.com/2011/03/23/fish-tank-film-critique/

‘Fish Tank’ – Film Critique
Posted on March 23, 2011 by impassionedcinema No Comments
Fish Tank Menu

‘Fish Tank’ is unlike any movie I’ve seen lately and maybe that’s why it made such a good impression.

‘Fish Tank’ stars Katie Jarvis as Mia, a fifteen-year-old girl living in Essex. She lives to dance and it’s not your typical classical dance either. She wants to dance like the hip-hop stars she aspires to be and get out of the hell her that surrounds her life.

In the beginning, it seems like Mia is a troublesome child. She starts fights on the street and tries to steal a horse. Her family situation is a mess with her younger sister cursing like a sailor and her mother more concerned about her own life then the life of her children.

Everything changes for their family dynamic the day Connor played by Michael Fassbender comes into their lives. He stars having a serious relationship with Mia’s mother, Joanne, and moves in with the family. The little sister has a father figure to live up to and they seem like a coherent family if just for a little while. All good things come to an end, but the way this story comes to an end is certainly unexpected.

© DVDbeaver.com

One night while living at Mia’s house, Connor has sex with Mia. Mia believes it is real love while Connor thinks it’s a huge mistake. He quickly leaves, ending his relationship with Mia and Mia’s mother in the same instance. Mia follows Connor to his house unexpectedly and finds Connor has a wife and child. Mia makes sure Connor will never forget her.

‘Fish Tank’ comes off short of grungy with its bleak setting and outcome. Everyone is trapped in their surroundings unable to get out of the tank they life in. By the films’ close, Mia has hopefully made it out. Whether or not she is successful is anyone’s guess.

‘Fish Tank’ won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA Film Award for Outstanding British Film and countless other awards. ‘Fish Tank’ is now on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as, Netflix streaming courtesy of the Criterion Collection. ‘Fish Tank’ comes Highly Recommended.

Rating: ★★★★☆

‘Fish Tank’
Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender and Kierston Wareing
Directed by: Andrea Arnold
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection
Source: IMDB.com
Images Courtesy of www.DVDbeaver.com
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:21 pm

http://www.thefilmcake.com/2011/03/22/im-tired-of-eatin-sloppy-slimy-eggs/

I’m Tired of Eatin’ Sloppy Slimy Eggs

March 14th – March 20th

Fish Tank – A nice one from Andrea Arnold. Michael Fassbender continues to impress. Newcomer Katie Jarvis is the real standout though. Discovered on a train platform arguing with her boyfriend, she holds her own with Fassbender here. She is very compelling. Her Mia is a wonderfully devastating figure. You can’t help but hope the best for her.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:27 pm

http://symbioticreviews.com/2011/03/21/2469/

Fish Tank

Cast: Katie Jarvis,Michael Fassbender

Director: Andrea Arnold

Running Time: 2 hour 4 minutes

by Jericho Cerrona
March 21, 2011

Whenever a film comes along like Fish Tank, it makes the endless stream of Hollywood nonsense look even more shallow and pointless by comparison. Though originally released in the U.K. in 2009, the film got its much-needed American release in 2010, and it should be sought out as essential viewing.

Writer/director Andrea Arnold’s raw and absorbing tale of an angst-ridden 15-year-old girl (played in an astonishing performance by newcomer Katie Jarvis) is one of the most accurate depictions of aimless youth. It is also an unsettling and heartbreaking document of wasted adulthood as well, with Arnold’s restlessly roving camera observing how in real life, actions have consequences.

The story is told entirely from the perspective of Mia who lives in an Essex council estate, and whose existence is predicated on loneliness and desperation. She spends most of her time wandering the streets, drinking, and cursing at her foul-mouthed younger sister and oblivious, hard-partying mother. The only thing that seems to provide some escape is her love for hip-hop-inspired dance, but her world is turned upside down with the arrival of her mother’s new boyfriend Conner (Michael Fassbender), a seemingly sweet and charismatic man that provides the defiant Mia with a measure of calmness. He is considerate towards her, (at one point mending cut on her leg that occurred from a fish noodling expedition), and encourages her interest in dance.

What follows is a realistic and at times painful film that chronicles Mia’s journey from volatile anger to longing, sadness, and something even perhaps approaching hope. It is an uncompromising piece of work, much more so than Arnold’s debut, the stark but uneven Red Road, and further establishes the director as a major talent. Since the movie fixates so squarely on Mia (there are never any instances where the camera cuts away to the other characters where she isn’t present), there is an automatic sympathy towards her character, despite her erratic and at times foolish behavior. It is difficult to remember a film so accurately depicting the emotional rollercoaster of youth, but Fish Tank never once shy’s away from the painful realities of Mia’s situation.

Jarvis, a complete non-actor who was discovered by Arnold at an Essex train station, gives a revelatory performance that is simultaneously confrontational and heartbreakingly honest. As the camera follows her every move, the sense of impending disaster seems almost unbearable. A pivotal scene late in the proceedings involving Mia and Conner is both tender and deeply appalling, and leads into territory that the film seems to have been heading towards all along. Fassbender, for his part, is wholly convincing in a very tricky part, which makes some of the third act revelations that much more distressing.

Fish Tank may be criticized for wallowing in repulsive grimness, and the fact that the audience is never quite clear about how Mia feels will be especially frustrating to some viewers. Since there is no voiceover narration (an often gimmicky device) to explain Mia’s feelings, as well as no musical score (another overused technique used to often manipulate the audience), the lack of explanation could be seen as Arnold withholding a much needed sense of catharsis. But this is simply not the case, as the film employs its faux documentary style not to alienate, but rather to push home the sad truth that certain things in life occur without ultimate meaning, that there are lives unfurling everywhere in which no simple answer or psychiatric diagnosis will suffice. The film’s one minor stumble just might its ending, likely to be misunderstood as Arnold’s attempt to provide Mia with a tidy escape. Though this is not a happy ending in the traditional sense, it still feels a bit tacked on, seeming to suggest that the worst is over. But in retrospect, there is still enough ambiguity here to indicate that this is simply yet another naïve and foolhardy decision by Mia, and one that will have long-lasting implications. In any case, Fish Tank is a hard film to forget; visceral, haunting, and powered by an extraordinary central performance.

* Date : March 21, 2011
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:28 pm

http://www.theblurayblog.com/2011/03/the-criterion-collection-fish-tank-blu-ray-disc-review/

The Criterion Collection: Fish Tank Blu-ray Disc Review
By Brenden ⋅ March 21, 2011 ⋅ Post a comment
Filed Under Andrea Arnold, Carrie-Ann Savill, Charlotte Collins, Criterion, Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths, The Criterion Collection

Fish Tank (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (2009)

FISH TANK (2009, Blu-ray released February 22, 2010 – MSRP $39.95)

MOVIE: ★★★★★
VIDEO: ★★★★★
AUDIO: ★★★★½
EXTRAS: ★★★★☆
BLU-RAY: ★★★★½


Criterion brings writer/director Andrea Arnold‘s most ambitious, most profound film to date, Fish Tank to Blu-ray in a stunning, feature-rich edition that is, for me, one of the best discs of the year thus far.

“British director Andrea Arnold (Red Road) won the Cannes Jury Prize for the searing and invigorating FISH TANK, about a fifteen-year-old girl, Mia (electrifying newcomer Katie Jarvis), who lives with her mother and sister in the depressed housing projects of Essex. Mia’s adolescent conflicts and emerging sexuality reach boiling points when her mother’s new boyfriend (a lethally attractive Michael Fassbender [Hunger, Inglourious Basterds]) enters the picture. “

Everything about Fish Tank as a film is pitch perfect, from the authenticity of the script to the delivery of every line spoken. The film rings true as a portrait of modern lower-income Britain, where parents fend for themselves and children suffer against overwhelming odds. Jarvis’ performance is raw and heart-rending, her desperation to escape palpable in every look, every action, every dance-move she records to win that audition that could spell freedom. It’s so impressive that she’s able to express such a wide range of emotions in such a subtle performance, given her age and the disturbing tale Arnold has spun. This is one that will stick with you, long after the credits have rolled.

Criterion’s Blu-ray edition of the film is absolutely stunning. Robbie Ryan’s photography is gorgeous but I’m still slightly baffled by the choice to compose/present the film in 1.33:1, as opposed to a wider, more cinematic shape. Despite those reservations, every aspect of the transfer is damn near perfect. Blacks are deep, colours radiant and there’s a ton of fine object detail on display here. Fantastic! This is a great looking disc.

From the liner notes:

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

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is clean and clear but doesn’t offer much in the way of dynamic or ambient sound. The nature of the film, however, is that of a dialogue-driven drama, and the resulting audio track seems right on the money.

From the liner notes:

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

Fish Tank is notably absent a commentary track but manages to feature some great extras, nonetheless. Chief among them, for me, is the inclusion of Arnold’s three short films, from her 1998 debut, Milk, her 2001 follow-up, Dog, to her Oscar winning 2003 short, Wasp. Watching them all back to back gives a clear sense of how she grew as a writer and director, with her debut stiff and pretentious and her final short a clear thematic and stylistic preparation for her first feature Red Road and her follow-up, Fish Tank. Brilliant!

The interviews with lead actors Fassbender (audio only) and Kierston Wareing, who plays Mia’s abusive, neglectful mother, provide the only direct insight into the making of the film, with both performers often having to grapple with answering interviewers questions about Arnold’s process. It’s unfortunate that the director doesn’t appear anywhere in the special features herself, whether by way of interview, commentary track or even written introduction in the included 18-page illustrated booklet. It feels like the only thing absent from this otherwise stellar package.

Highest possible recommendation!

Special 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
* 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 Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:36 pm

http://rjhutch.blogspot.com/2011/03/netflix-stream-this-bitch.html

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Netflix Stream This, Bitch!
Fish Tank
Fish Tank is one of the latest British films that takes a close look at an aspect of the seedy underbelly of England. That's not to say this film deals with crime, violence or drug use (though it certainly does have bits and pieces of those things), but this movie shows what it's like growing up as an attractive 15-year old girl in an Essex housing project, dealing with a single mom and younger sister and all of the pressures that one feels (especially young women) when trying to survive in the teenage world. The film is another great piece to come out of England that completely succeeds as a study of social realism. Fish Tank is not for everyone: if you're one of those (dumb f&#!) people who would never watch an independent movie because it's too slow or boring, than I would stay far away from this realistic portrait of a volatile teen girl. But if you want a challenging and rewarding movie-watching experience, then Fish Tank will be right up your alley.
Mia is 15 years old, and she lives with her attractive, slutty mom and foul-mouthed younger sister. She's essentially a loner, travelling the landscape of misguided youths and dead metal machines by foot on a daily basis. One of her few escapes is an abandoned apartment in which she turns her music up loud and practices different varieties of hip hop dancing, a hobby that she dreams to turn into a profession one day. Thankfully, other than the dancing aspect, this film bears no resemblance to the Step Up pile-o-s$#! atrocities. Where the real plot lies is when Mia's mother's new boyfriend, Connor (played with scary charm by one of my favorites, Michael Fassbender), enters the picture with secrets of his own. He tries to bring a more fatherly aspect to the three-female family, and things do not go as planned.
Yes, I know it sounds bleak, not something you would want to watch on a nice Saturday night; however, Fish Tank dodges many of the traps that other films of this type would fall right into. Instead of being depressing, it's empowering. This is the case because of the awesome performance by Katie Jarvis as Mia and the beautiful direction by Andrea Arnold. When you watch the film, you can see that Mia isn't a great dancer. But she enjoys the dancing when she is alone, so it is a success for what it is. The film cares less about what happens to Mia after the credits roll and instead just portrays the realistic nature of the life she has known since she has arrived on this Earth. Fish Tank is many things: it's about a girl caught somewhere between childhood and womanhood and all of the pressures and experiences that she handles on a daily basis. It's a story about following or giving up on your dreams. It's another great performance by the Irishman Michael Fassbender. And it's a great film.
Posted by Hutch at 6:21 PM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:23 am

http://kalafudra.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/fish-tank-2009/

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Fish Tank (2009)
Friday, 25. March 2011

Fish Tank is Andrea Arnold‘s newest film, starring Katie Jarvis, Rebecca Griffiths, Kierston Wareing, Harry Treadaway and Michael Fassbender.

Plot:
Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a teenager from a bad neighborhood who dreams of a career as a dancer. When her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), Mia connects with him quickly. Connor is a nice guy who treats Mia and her sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) well and even encourages Mia’s dreams. Flattered by his attention and his general treatment, Mia quickly falls in love with Connor.

Fish Tank is one hell of a movie. Excellently cast, perfectly written and well-shot, it takes no time to make you feel miserable. At least it has the decency to pick you up a little bit at the end.

[SPOILERS]

Fish Tank feels completely real. The portrayal of the neighborhood, the subculture and (though it’s a hated word, it nevertheless fits) the class is spot-on, as are the relationships within Mia’s family and with Connor. Several times I had flashbacks to people I met through my parents’ work (they are in foster care and work closely with social services).

This realism is not only the movie’s biggest strength, it’s also what makes it so damn harrowing to watch: there’s just a fine sense of threat in every scene. You know that this is not a “good environment” Mia’s in and consequently, when she is confronted with basic niceness in the form of Connor, she has no idea how to deal with it. Having never experienced general interest or attention from a guy that wasn’t somehow sexual or aggressive, it’s no wonder she falls in love with Connor. [Also, he's hot but that's just an additional plus.]

And Connor who is an asshole and an idiot but not actually a bad guy (though there are some creepy moments) obviously doesn’t know how to say no – to women who flirt with him as little as to himself – and ends up raping Mia [even if it's not the obvious kind of rape, age of consent is 16 in the UK and apart from that, Mia wasn't really very enthusiastic - she just didn't say no]. And your heart breaks when that happens because it was the one chance Mia had at having a “normal”, fatherly relationship with a guy that might have even helped her in her loneliness and then that…

There’s much to talk about in this film, from the story to the characters which are amazingly layered. The actors are great, too. I don’t know if Katie Jarvis actually knows how to act or if she really is like that and it matters little. We don’t need to talk about Michael Fassbender, who is brilliant as usual. And Kierston Wareing was really good, too. I also liked that the movie was shot in 4:3, though it was slightly irritating at first.

Generally speaking, Andrea Arnold really does a wonderful job with this film, though you do hate her a little for being that good.

Summarising: Recommended watching but not an easy film.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:33 pm

http://mohsen48.blogspot.com/2011/03/fish-tank-2009.html

Saturday, March 26, 2011
Fish Tank (2009)
Director: Andrea Arnold. Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing. 123 min. UK/Netherlands. Drama.

An angry 15-year old girl living with her promiscuous Mom and foul-mouthed younger sister has nothing to do but be a juvenile delinquent, or dance. When a mother's boyfriend sees her dancing in solitude and suggests for her to audition ... no, she doesn't win a competition. In contrast, her world turns upside down, as she learns who abused her, and what she may trust as true emotion - the hard way. Contains many lingering moments, but I found a little girl falling into a river, and our heroine pulling her out into a fierce hug, the most disturbing.

(PS: This BAFTA, Cannes, Chicago, London, and Edinburgh award winner was on the top 10 lists of a few critics for 2010, and Ebert called it one of the top 10 art films of last year.)

Mo says:
Posted by Mohsen at 5:35 PM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:56 am

http://reviews.filmintuition.com/2011/03/criterion-collection-dvd-review-fish.html

3/28/2011
Criterion Collection DVD Review: Fish Tank (2009)

If an aquarium is too small, fish being housed in the tank may become stunted – overwhelmed and doomed to give into their environment – unable to fully grow and mature to the level that they should.

While being a contemporary teenage girl is a little like being a fish on display in a tank anyway given the overly-sexualized roles young women are pushed to perform as mirrored back on television through music videos and reality shows, it's twice as hard when the emotional fish bowl experience is also physical as lived in the veritable fish tank of a modern day housing project.

For regardless of how much has changed over centuries the one thing that's stayed the same since the days of Ancient Rome is the treatment of the “have nots” by the “haves” in power in governments around the world, which have opted to house society’s working classes in tight living quarters.

Whether it’s in the American “projects,” Scottish “schemes” or English “council estates,” et al. it’s become common practice to cram hundreds upon hundreds of disadvantaged and diverse strangers in tenements, knowing full well that the environments will stunt the growth of generations given the byproducts of violence, drugs, prostitution, and/or gangs that some of the “fish” in the ill-equipped tanks turn to in an attempt to survive.

And in the aptly titled Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winning Fish Tank, Oscar winning British filmmaker Andrea Arnold plays against mainstream cinema’s tendency to tackle these issues with either pitch-black or rose-colored glasses via exploitative gangs, guys and guns gritty crime movies or uplifting underdog tales of breakdancers or ballerinas who become Broadway stars.

The result is a refreshingly realistic, painful yet poignant female-centric portrait of Mia (Katie Jarvis), a restless, angry fifteen year old girl with an uncertain future who’s fully aware that she’ll be trapped in the same Essex council estate she shares with her disinterested, abusive overgrown “party girl” mother (Kierston Wareing) if she doesn’t break free.


Literally butting her head against all that she knows in the film’s extended opening sequence as Mia uses her head to break the nose of an old group of friends who’ve turned their back on her, her desire to escape manifests itself in her love of hip hop dancing and her fruitless, futile attempts to free an old horse that’s chained up down the road.

Even hearing that the horse is ill, near death and likewise best left as is on the property doesn’t prevent Mia from returning again and again, stubbornly sure that like her, the horse must be longing to run free and needs an accomplice to assist in the getaway.

Mia finds an enigmatic, charismatic accomplice all her own after becoming fascinated and – to our alarm – finding her growing attraction reciprocated by her mother’s staggeringly handsome, new young beau Connor, played by Inglourious Basterds, Jane Eyre and Hunger star Michael Fassbender.


The opposite of a Mena Suvari like American Beauty or young Lolita, prone to wearing baggy pants and ponytails in stark contrast to her bikini clad foul mouthed little sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), the less overtly sexual Mia is at once flattered by the paternal attention of Connor as she is confused yet drawn in by his lingering gazes and conspiratorial connection to encourage her love of dance.

Whereas in someone else’s hands, this set-up could’ve easily abandoned its roots as a fly-on-the-wall docudrama and become a salaciously sudsy melodramatic two hour soap, Arnold never wavers in her starkly matter-of-fact Ken Loach by way of Truffaut’s 400 Blows styled approach, despite the fact that it’s pretty easy to predict two of the plot twists regarding Connor long before they’re revealed in the final act.

Unflinchingly realistic to a near-excruciatingly intense fault in an overly long segment wherein Mia rebels in the harsh light of new information by taking her frustration out on a completely innocent party, to Arnold’s credit, even when the work changes course and we find ourselves in a horrific situation, the emotional payoff feels completely natural and true.


Following in the footsteps of post-World War II Italian neorealist filmmakers who cast amateurs in lead roles, Arnold’s Fish Tank is anchored by an amazingly authentic debut performance by newcomer Jarvis who was discovered having a public argument with her boyfriend at a railway station.

And similar to the way that parents don’t always know where there kids are, what they’re doing or what the day will bring, Tank was filmed chronologically with strict adherence to the Loach technique. Namely, the first-rate cast only received the pages for the scenes they’d be filming one week at a time and with no intentional information of what occurred in shots in which they didn’t take part until – as in Wareing’s case – they saw the completed film at Cannes.

And fortunately emphasis on realism on set wasn’t lost in translation via this filmmaker supervised and approved Criterion Collection debut which was crisply transferred with “2k resolution from the original 35 mm camera negative” and also boasts a trio of Arnold’s short films including the Oscar winning Wasp.

In addition to other behind-the-scenes featurettes, the Criterion release also offers one of its strongest essay booklets in recent memory thanks to an exceedingly well-written piece from Scorsese on Scorsese co-editor Ian Christie that analyzes Fish Tank’s significance and relation to thematically similar British fare, while applauding Arnold’s refreshing and cinematically rare decision to make her “fish” an independent young woman.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:52 am

http://darkseishin.blogspot.com/2011/03/fish-tank-review_27.html

søndag 27. mars 2011
Fish Tank Review

PLOT
We follow a young protagonist Mia -a tongue in cheek teen who finds herself in the proverbial metaphor of a fish tank: trapped in an existence where council estates, foul-mouthed sisters and a dysfunctional mother dictate her reality all seems lost. Hope comes in the form of a mysterious stranger, who encourages her to pursue her talents as a hip-hop dancer. But things are never as they seem…

REVIEW
Life is a series of events, some events more noteworthy than others. It was in such an impasse that I discovered the gem that is Fish Tank. Masterly structured and directed by British filmmaker Andrea Arnold. Already lauded for her previous motion picture Red Road she takes us on a journey of self-realisation and brings her unique take on working class England with its vulgar language, gritty landscapes and tarnished buildings. Amidst all this imperfection her camera is unsteady and unfixed, but perfectly captures the beauty in each scene, and in each moment of stillness. With experience from acting in television Arnold also excels in getting great performances from her actors especially Michael Fassbender (Connor) and the previously inexperienced Katie Jarvis (Mia).

To escape the dreary and bleak continuation of her life Mia often retreats to abandoned flats to work on her dancing. Dancing with verve and exuberance she impresses her mums new boyfriend Connor who treats her with respect previously unknown to her. The blurred “family” dynamics which is an intrinsic part of this story is what distinguishes this movie from other socio-realistic flicks; in addition the performances from the cast are nothing short of inspiring.

Although with a running time of over two hours the tempo and the rhythm of each scene never seems displaced. The movies delights with pictures reminiscent of modern photography before it ups the pace and churns out affecting scenes developed by unresolved conflicts.

It is in this balance of tempo the film illustrate its greatest strength. The movie lets us play a part in human observation and rarely tells us how to feel or think. It merely shows us life in one particular context; a context of social decline and individuals in need of external benefits to survive. Nevertheless, the context never let's us stray from the focus on Mia, her story, followed by the inciting incidents that affect her life. In her, we can see the contours of early adulthood, the classic rebellion, the burgeoning sensuality; both aspects of youth which most people can relate to.

Underneath all the sociological analysis we see a girl who wants to succeed. The result, is one of the most moving films I’ve seen in this current decade (2000-2010). A bold statement perhaps, but after viewing the material, its brilliance is self-explanatory.

VERDICT
Sumptuous and engaging this motion picture won the 2010 BAFTA for Best British Film. As a rule of thumb you should never base your own judgment on awards, but I am willing to make an exception with this film; superb in every aspect.
Posted by Timetraveller at 13:25
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:45 am

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/138376-fish-tank/

Andrea Arnold's 'Fish Tank' Is Rich with Stark Beauty
By Jake Meaney 25 March 2011

The story of the discovery of Katie Jarvis, the young breakout star of Fish Tank, is so wholly apropos and cute that it seems too good to be true. Apparently, a talent scout for the film spotted the then 16-year-old yelling and swearing at her boyfriend across some train tracks at a subway station in Essex. Jarvis allegedly rebuffed the scout’s advances, telling her off in disbelief and storming off, before eventually being convinced to audition and accept the part. A happy accident all around, since this is exactly the sort of girl – stroppy, foul mouthed, abrasive - director Andrea Arnold was looking for, and this is exactly what we get when Jarvis storms onto the screen.

In Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold’s second full length feature after the stunning Red Road, Jarvis, who had never acted before, plays Mia, a stroppy, foul mouthed, abrasive 15-year-old. She spends her days either stalking around the public housing tenement where she lives with her mother and sister; wandering aimlessly around the streets of Essex; or practicing hip hop dance in an abandoned apartment. Jarvis’ performance – at turns aggressively belligerent and coyly vulnerable, but always raw – is so achingly genuine that you wonder how much of it is actually acting, and how much is just her. It’s a tour de force, to be sure, especially from a new comer, but you wonder if it’s actually just her life.

Indeed, aside from some heavy handed symbolism and a late third act melodramatic twist that almost undermines the rest of the film, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Fish Tank is a documentary, if you came upon it unawares. Shot almost entirely on hand held cameras that stalk Jarvis for the entirety of its run time (she’s on screen for the entire 122-minutes), and framed in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio so she is always at the center of the shot, the film has a pronounced verite feel, a window into a brutal, unforgiving reality among the British poor as seen through the eyes of one of its lost, listless young.

Following in the British tradition of “kitchen sink” social realism pioneered by Ken Loach and continued by early Mike Leigh, Arnold’s film is uncompromising and unsentimental in its portrayal of Mia’s world, a world of life on the dole, of life on the bottle, of life at the end of the road. Mia’s mother (Kierston Wareing) – who doesn’t look much older than a teenager herself, and probably had Mia when she was Mia’s age – leads a selfish, slovenly life as a drunken party girl, who sees her two spawn as inconveniences at best. Mia’s younger sister, an equally foul mouthed little brat, is already smoking and boozing at what looks to be the ripe old age of eight.

Mia seems to be doing no better – she has no friends, is a high school dropout, has no job, and spends her days drinking, attacking other girls in the housing project, or screaming at her mother and sister. She does her best to make it impossible to like her – and yet it is impossible to turn away from her.

What little plot there is at first comes from the introduction of mom’s new boyfriend, a hunky, lazily sexy ne’er-do-well named Connor (Michael Fassbender), who quickly shacks up in their flat. Mia’s obvious attraction to him runs from a dull ache early on to a steadier thrum as the film rolls on, her face a wash of sexual confusion whenever she is near Connor. We know where this is headed, even if Mia doesn’t entirely. The film almost toys with us, making us think it’s going to be a sort of generic sexual awakening sort of piece, a coming of age drama – which it is, except there are no grand life lessons learned, no sudden understanding, no revelatory glance into adulthood.

That’s the curious thing about Fish Tank, and what is part of its power. Though the camera basically has us in Mia’s face (or Mia in ours) the entire time – stalking her over her shoulder, or trying to catch up with her as she tries to run away from her life – we never get in her head. We think we can figure things out from her face, from her body language, but we never see anything crystallize. Watching her we are awash in the same roiling, inchoate emotions that are welling up inside of her. There is no self-awareness in Mia—she is all instinct, intuition, and lashing out. There is a vestige of hope buried somewhere, and we cling to it as she does, but we feel, without knowing exactly, that she is slowly drowning, chained down and trapped like a fish in a… well, and here’s where we run into a problem.

Arnold is such a supremely confident director, that it really pains me that her script resorts to some rather heavy handed and obvious animal metaphors to reinforce what Jarvis is more than capable of conveying herself. Early on, Mia comes across an old, emaciated grey horse chained up in a junk yard. She repeatedly tries to free it, only to be chased off each time by the punks who are squatting there. At another key moment, Connor catches a fish during a little “family” outing to a river, and Arnold draws close in on the fish gasping for life on the shore. This is stuff out of Student Film 101, and would be laughable if the rest of the film weren’t so assured and brilliant. (See also the very last shot of the film, which boasts an unfortunate use of a very symbolic balloon drifting over the Essex housing ghetto. If only the film had just ended 10 seconds sooner, we’d have a masterpiece on our hands).

Also late in the game, Arnold resorts to a melodramatic plot… well, not twist, but event that is surprising for its petulance. It threatens to sink the film, and turn Fish Tank from a powerful character study into a laughable tragedy, but luckily disaster is averted in the nick of time. Mia comes through the ordeal still clinging to hope, only to awaken the next day to further dashed dreams when her dance audition, the only thing in life she was looking forward to, doesn’t go quite the way she expected it to. Her escape in the last minutes of the film seems desperate, not exactly hopeful, but more about getting the hell out of the hopeless hell she is living in now, if nothing else.

Fish Tank is both tough and easy to recommend. It’s not a particularly enjoyable film, but it has a certain hypnotic pull to it, and Jarvis is especially electrifying. It’s harsh, but not unduly brutal – Jarvis and Arnold refuse to wallow in the misery of Mia’s life—and a second viewing, knowing what is coming, is better for truly appreciating what Jarvis does here (since the entirety of the first time I saw this I was expecting some sort of Lars von Trier-esque type of brutal martyrdom of Mia, which Arnold never succumbs to). Though set in the dreary public housing tenements of Essex, surrounded by warehouses and junkyards, there is a stark beauty to the film, Arnold isolating quiet moments of beauty amidst the desolation. She has an obvious talent for effortlessly honing in on key details of a setting to reinforce what’s in the foreground, and it works to her advantage here.

She also has a great ear, too – though the film has no nondigetic soundtrack (to maintain its verite illusion), the songs that Mia listens and dances to are an excellent cross section of early to mid-‘90s hip hop. The key song though, which Connor introduces and is a refrain returned to three times, is Bobby Womack’s incendiary, soul inflected cover of “California Dreamin’”. His version – horn drenched and a bit faster than the Mamas and Papas’ – is aching and sexy, a yearning not just for escape but a consummation. It’s no wonder that it accompanies the key seduction scene lying at the film’s center.

I remember being haunted by this song for weeks after seeing it the first time. After this second viewing, though, the song that sticks with me the most is Nas’s stone cold classic “Life’s a Bitch”, which runs under the final scene between Mia, her sister and mother, in which they briefly dance together before Mia leaves home. It’s such a sweet, innocent moment, unlike any other in the film (so much so that it seems that it’s from another film entirely), Nas’s lyrics acting as the grand (and obvious) summation of everything we just saw (it also plays again over the credits) and where Mia is headed.

Criterion’s DVD release of Fish Tank is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the inclusion of three of Arnold’s short films (one of which, Wasp, she won an Oscar for in 2004) are essential. Here we see the evolution of a talent that seemed to arrive fully formed with Red Road. The films display the same concern with lower class, female protagonists and sexuality, and while obviously not as brilliant as the features to come, display the hallmarks that would make these films so brilliant.

Aside from an interview with Kierston Wareing, there is very little background, behind the scenes information here. Wareing does go into a little bit of detail about Arnold’s style and methods (for instance, the film was shot sequentially and the script handed out piecemeal for each day, the better to keep the actors in the dark and on their toes), but the director herself is glaringly absent from all the proceedings. No commentary track, no interviews. I can’t figure out if this was conscious on Arnold’s part, or whether Criterion just put together what they had available, but I’m guessing the former. While disappointing, it also add to the mystique of Arnold, who has quickly become one of most exciting directors to watch coming out of the UK.

Rating:
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:53 pm

http://miccinema.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/fish-tank/

“Fish Tank” (2009) review

This could be one of the best coming-of-age stories I have seen in a very long time if not the best. It is brutally honest and superbly acted. The story is about a 15-year-old girl in Essex, England who does not exactly have an easy life. She lives with her mother and younger sister and is just discovering herself and her sexuality. The story moves forward slowly but by doing this you get a very clear picture of who this girl is and the problems she is dealing with. Katie Jarvis, who plays the lead role (Mia), had never acted before filming “Fish Tank” and you would never know. She gives a performance that could rival some performances of accomplished actresses and hopefully she will break big soon. The only recognizable actor in the movie is Michael Fassbender, who plays the mothers boyfriend and Mia’s temptation. His performance along with Katie Jarvis are the lynchpins of the film and both are fantastic.

I can’t recommend this highly enough, but I also understand it is not a movie for everyone. If you can appreciate a quality script and excellent acting then it’s right up your alley. It is slow moving and the climax of the movie does not come till well into it. That wait however makes what your seeing on screen all the more impactful. I feel if I was a woman I would like it even more but as a guy I may not be able to relate to the character but I can appreciate the story and feel sympathy for the main character. Streaming now on Netflix and well worth the 123 minutes of your time. A movie like this is one of the main reasons I wanted to write movie reviews, to spread the word on movies like this that you may never have seen or heard of.

-MV

This entry was posted on April 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:21 pm

http://jesiowastaken.blogspot.com/2011/04/weird-fishes.html

Monday, April 4, 2011
Weird Fishes

Saw 2009's Fish Tank this weekend. All I knew of it was it was indie and involved teen angst. It slowly and subtly blew my mind. The basic premise has been done a kajillion times, so the power is in the nuance with this one, folks.

Fifteen-year-old Mia lives in an Essex housing project with her alcoholic, bitchy mother and equally miserable and cranky younger sister, Tyler. She has no friends, either. In the first "day" we experience with her, she's either verbally or physically attacked (or attacking) in four different situations.

Her means of escape is an abandoned flat where she practices hip hop dance. While there's an entire movement of young women dressing and dancing like this in Britain, for Americans, the closest relative you may recognize would be Lady Sovereign's tomboyish talent (complete with messy ponytail and sweatpants.) Mom's new (young) boyfriend, Conner, moves in and Mia's inner-turmoil begins to manifest as she hovers between wanting him to be her father and her lover.



The rawness in the acting was startling. Scenes that may seem unnecessary (an adults-only party in the living room shows us the naked truth about how Britain's working class relax: sad grinding in ill-fitting clothes with people they have to be drunk to stomach) are crucial. And even Mia's dream to be a dancer is ridiculous when looked at with common sense. She isn't very good. Conner's encouragement seems genuine, but we can never fully tell if he actually thinks she's good because he knows no better, or because he's caught in an encouragement-meets-desire conundrum.

Michael Fassbender (Conner) absolutely killed in this role. And Katie Jarvis (Mia) seems poised to win an Oscar next time out. She morphed into this waifish brat, showed us the sharp and stinging pains of being stuck in a deadend freefall, punched with real anger and cried real tears. She would have been a great Lisbeth Salander.


And the soundtrack? Holy moly. Bobby Womack's smoky version of "California Dreamin'" features prominently in the film, and is able to be as layered as any of the characters. It morphs from representing a family fishing daytrip to a darker, sexier example of escapism. The best in late 2000s hip hop is there with Nas's "Life's A Bitch" also makings itself heard loudly and clearly amid the chaos.

Now, afer deciding to write this, I research a bit and learn it won the 2010 BAFTA (the British Oscar) for Best Picture and the Jury Prize at last year's Cannes.
Posted by jESiO at 11:08 AM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:44 pm

http://1001plus.blogspot.com/2011/04/chavs-slags-and-pikeys.html

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Chavs, Slags, and Pikeys
Film: Fish Tank
Format: Streaming video from NetFlix on laptop.

A couple of days ago, I made a comment about subtitled films, and I’m going to start attempting to watch more of them in April, a real concerted effort toward reducing the number of such films remaining to me on the list. With that said, Fish Tank might well seem like an odd film to choose, because it’s English. But the accent through much of this movie is so thick that at times, I wish I could have turned on subtitles—one of the drawbacks of a lot of streaming films is that subtitles aren’t always an option, and they’d have been useful here.

We start with Mia (Katie Jarvis), whose life is a complete trainwreck. At 15, she’s already realized that her future is a bleak one. She lives in a rundown neighborhood, gets into fights with other girls her age, and is saddled with a foul little sister (Rebecca Griffiths) and an abusive, alcoholic mother (Kierston Wareing). The only thing that’s good in her life is hip-hop dancing. While raw, Mia appears to have some talent. But, ultimately, Mia is something of a chav, but by birth and environment, not by choice.

[chav--noun. Informal and derogatory. A young, working-class person whose tastes, although sometimes expensive, are considered vulgar. An anti-social youth.]

This is the environment that Mia lives in, and there’s little she can do about it. Within the first few moments of the film, Mia observes another chav group dancing sluttily in front of a group of shirtless boys who would belong in a cast photo of Jersey Shore. When she comments on their dancing, a fight almost breaks out; it doesn’t because Mia head-butts one of the girls and runs off. Things aren’t better at home. Sister Tyler is a chav in training—despite being 8 or 9 by appearance, she drinks, smokes, and might possibly be sexually active. Mother Joanne is a slag, and has recently brought home a new guy.

[slag--noun. Informal and derogatory. A fallen, promiscuous woman.]

This new guy is Connor (Michael Fassbender), younger than Joanne, attractive, and employed. Mia is immediately and uncomfortably attracted to him, and isn’t sure how to deal with him. Sometimes, she is willing to trust him, and is almost in awe of him. Other times, she can’t stand to be around him. Similarly, at times he takes a fatherly interest in Mia, and at other times his interest appears to be less than parental and more…something else.

All of this is complicated by the horse that Mia sees in a field. The horse is tied up and held captive by a group of pikeys, and when Mia attempts to free the horse, the results are disastrous. She eventually befriends Billy (Harry Treadaway), one of the pikeys, who tells her that it’s not what she thinks—the horse is actually quite old and ill, and keeping it tethered allows him to take better care of it before it dies.

[pikey--noun. Derogatory. An Irish traveler or gypsy, or a low-class individual. If you’ve seen Snatch, think of Brad Pitt’s character.]

Mia’s hope is to get out of the situation she is in, but her only chance appears to be a club that is looking to hire dancers. She submits an application (after some encouragement from Connor), but this is the only real hope she has. Her sister is verbally abusive, and is the mother’s favorite. Why? Because Tyler is more like Joanne herself. While Mia wants to get away from the hell of her mother’s existence, Tyler has adapted by trying to be as much like Joanne as possible. Joanne is more than verbally abusive—she is also emotionally and physically abusive to her daughter. To complete the abuse buffet, we can throw in the sexual abuse courtesy of Connor, since he commits statutory rape with Mia, having that porn movie fantasy of sex with the mother and the daughter, albeit at different times.

The “fish tank” of the title is, of course, Mia’s life, and it’s an unusual use of the metaphor. Rather than her being on display for all the world to see, here the tank of the title draws attention to how completely she is trapped. Mia wants nothing more than to get away from the life her mother lives and sister will live, but there is no obvious way out. Every way out that shows up appears to just be a tunnel that leads back to the same prison. But, like a fish, she can’t survive outside of that environment. Only the fish in Finding Nemo have managed to escape an aquarium, and Mia is not a cartoon.

Of course, the horse is also a metaphor for Mia, chained and forlorn as it is. Dealing with the horse, though, as well as a few other plot points requires a warning.

*** OI! SPOILER! ***

Mia goes to the audition only to discover that those holding auditions don’t want hip-hop dancers, but strippers. Embarassed and ashamed, Mia retreats and discovers the horse dead. Just like her dreams? Yeah, maybe.

Also, it turns out that Connor is a bigger bastard than just being a pederast. Turns out he’s got a family, as in a wife and kids. When Mia discovers this, she absconds with his daughter and runs off, but eventually returns with the girl, which makes this part of the tale turn out about as well as it can. Still, as a parent, I found this quite disturbing, particularly because it ends with Mia callously tossing the child into the ocean (although she does save her). Equally disturbing is that her discovery of Connor’s marital status is preceded by a breaking and entering of Connor’s house and is followed by a titanic urination on his carpet in retaliation. Evidently, she doesn’t stray far from those chav roots.

*** OI! PISS OFF! ***

Is this a good film? A lot of people seem to think it is. I’m less certain. I’d have liked to see something else happen besides the sex scene, which to my mind feels gratuitous to the plot. Maybe gratuitous is the wrong word—expected is better. It feels like a guaranteed part of the script. Coming of age stories for girls almost always involve a sexual awakening, as if there can be no other way to come of age for young women. For boys, coming of age seems to involve someone (or something...like a dog) dying. I’d have liked to see something different here, because all the sex scene did for me was elicit a sigh of regret, not a gasp of shock.

Why to watch Fish Tank: Real, gritty, wrong-side of the tracks life in the place where people drive on the wrong side of the road.
Why not to watch: Hard to understand...and more formulaic than I expected.
Posted by Movie Guy Steve at 9:08 PM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:39 pm

http://www.metropulse.com/news/2011/apr/06/mike-leigh-digs-deep-gilbert-and-sullivan-biopic-t/

Criterion recently released another film on DVD and Blu-ray that, frankly, seems more like Leigh’s usual speed. Writer/director Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank centers on 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), who lives with her single mum Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and foul-mouthed little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) in a British high-rise public housing project. Arnold’s camera usually finds Mia in motion—stalking grim-faced along the grotty sidewalks in her baggy sweats, dancing to hip-hop in an abandoned flat, racing up and down the stairs with ponytail a-bob. Even her favorite top has a striped pattern that seems to vibrate in the lens. The irony is, of course, that she’s going nowhere. She isn’t much for school, and her dreams of dancing seem remote at best. No wonder she’s drawn to the gaunt horse chained up in a vacant lot; he counts as a rare kindred spirit.

Joanne probably had Mia when she wasn’t much older than her daughter, and as such is young and attractive enough to draw the attention of Conor (It actor Michael Fassbender), a lean-hipped and charming suitor. A semi-stable male figure, especially one so appealing, galvanizes the women of the household. This is a good thing, especially for Mia, until it isn’t; Fish Tank heads in some wouldn’t-do-to-reveal directions from there. But Arnold’s clear-eyed direction and some sterling performances, most especially from Fassbender and utter newcomer Jarvis, create a compelling coming-of-age tale whose few too-neat tinges are far outweighed by its emotional weight and slowly revealed truths. After all, as Mia learns, when it comes to life, sometimes you’ve got to save your own.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:53 pm

http://www.rockportfilm.com/2011/04/fish-tank-film-by-andrea-arnold.html

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Fish Tank - A Film by Andrea Arnold
4/5/2011

Fish Tank is a raw and unflinching look at a teen girls coming of age while living in the cold, dank housing projects in Essex, England. The girl is Mia and she is played by first time actress Katie Jarvis. A fifteen year old who spends her time dancing in an abandon apartment. This isn’t your Black Swan type dancing but hip hop. This film was directed by Andrea Arnold who won and Academy Award in 2005 for her short film Wasp, which takes place in the same world as Fish Tank.

Mia is you average angst ridden teen. She is constantly fighting with her mom and younger sister. She doesn’t get along with other girls her age and her future is a fog. Her mother (Joanne) wants to send her to a boarding school to straighten her out. Joanne has a new boyfriend (Connor) played by the brilliant Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who forms an immediate connection with Mia. He is simultaneously a father figure and a teen crush for her. He is the only person that supports and encourages her dancing. He lends her a camcorder so she can make a tape to enter a competition. All of this seems too good to be true and it is. Mia’s trust is betrayed by Connor and she goes to extreme lengths to get back at him and teach him a lesson.

She is called in for an audition for the dance contest and this is also not what it seems. The whole film sparkles in the way that things are not always what they seem or what you think they should be. Everything is painfully similar to real life and not some sort of Hollywood fantasy. Earlier on in the film Mia meets Jimmy a boy more her age while trying to free a sickly looking white horse from a junkyard. They develop a more natural and real relationship. Mia decides to leave home and go with Jimmy to Wales. Her mother can see Mia has no future where they live and doesn’t put up a resistance.

The Fish Tank DVD and blu-ray is available from the Criterion Collection.

Posted by Chris at 10:57 AM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:45 am

http://corlomoski.blogspot.com/2011/04/things-i-loved-in-march-2011.html

Fish Tank (2009)
Thank you, Netflix, for introducing me to this movie. I'm not sure why I decided to watch it one night, but I'm SO HAPPY that I did. This movie is a great coming-of-age story of a teenager living in England (played by first-time actor Katie Jarvis), and although the movie is a little predictable at times, I felt this overhanging sense of dread throughout my viewing that made me want to keep watching.

That, plus Michael Fassbender. I have Fish Tank to thank for my newfound love for this German-Irish actor, a man who gives Robert Downey Jr. a run for his money in the Handsome Men Club (not affiliated with Jimmy Kimmel's Handsome Men's Club). I'm now super-excited for this summer's X-Men: First Class, and as soon as I get the time, I plan on watching most of his resume.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:06 am

http://www.gameinformer.com/blogs/members/b/enigma13_blog/archive/2011/04/08/fish-tank-movie-review.aspx

Fish Tank Movie Review
Member
by Enigma on April 08, 2011 at 05:15 PM

Well...uh...I was unable to see Source Code last week so here's a review for a movie that came out on DVD last year! Whoopee!

Every teenager has gotten that feeling. You know what I'm talking about. The feeling that you deserve better than what you've been given. The feeling of wanting to escape from the confines of your crap life, wanting to move out, become an adult already. That sense of longing, wishing for something more. You feel like you're wasting your life living with your parents, and want to just head out to the world finally, and experience all that life has to offer. The feeling of being trapped in a fish tank, and the only way to escape is either by being flushed down the toilet, or worse: Death.

It's a theme that many of the most insipid of teenage films have explored, but none have done it as honestly and as beautifully as Fish Tank does. This is a coming-of-age story that takes the tried-and-true coming-of-age formula, and turns it on its head with dark subject matter.

Set in a crappy British public housing apartment, 15-year-old Mia (Newcomer Katie Jarvis) has been kicked out of school, forced to stay with her family. Mom hardly notices her, and disturbingly looks just as young as Mia does, and Mia's sister is rapidly devolving into an even bigger monster than Mia, culling out a spew of swear words and smoking cigarettes at only 9-or-so years old. Mia isn't much better, as she constantly runs away from home, gets into fights with strangers, and finds as much booze as she possibly can.

During one of mom's many douchey parties, she brings home her new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender), who wishes to bring some change to the household and bring everyone together. Unfortunately for Mia, she begins to fall for Connor's dashing good looks and instant charm, but knows she can never have the same man who is bedding her mom. And that's where things get complicated. Or is it?

It's a simple premise, and it isn't entirely revolutionary, but there are key elements to Fish Tank that make it phenomenally great. The film has received comparisons to Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, but unfairly so. Whereas Precious: BotNPbS was unintentionally over-the-top, wallowed in misery, and was basically grim for grim's sake, Fish Tank has something that Precious doesn't: Honesty.

The audience is never manipulated, the bleakness of the film never gets in the way of the story and characters, and the characters aren't merely just one-note. The film simply just examines Mia, sees things the way she sees them, it doesn't judge any of the other characters, none of them are forced by the writer to be anyone else other than who they truly are, everyone and everything remains true to reality, people talk like actual human beings, and we are left to peer into the glass of the fish tank, at the lives trapped inside.

The film is interesting at first. There's a certain atmosphere and air to the movie that finds that right balance between bleak and hopeful. Everything is grim, grey, and drab, but the sun looms over on the horizon, a distant light that is far away, but can still be seen. As Mia looks out of the window of her room when she dances, there is an entire world out there for her, beckoning to be lived in, and all she can do is just peer in the glass of the fish tank. She can see it, she just has to jump out, somehow.

However, there comes a point when the movie begins to look more deeply into the relationship between Mia and Connor. They're charming together, have playful banter, and Mia actually feels like she's made her first real friend in a long time. The only things keeping them apart are Mia's mother, and the official Pedobear laws of age-difference.

One specific scene reaches such beauty and richness, and it is when Connor asks Mia to dance for him, and when she does, the camera isn't distant. You hardly see any of the dance because we are given a close-up of Mia's face the entire time, and the emotional center of Mia's internal struggle is amplified. This was the scene that won me over, and made Fish Tank not just merely good, but achieved greatness. But then, as soon as the scene involving the young girl in the scooter began, the film actually transcended greatness and became a masterpiece, in my eyes.

A movie like this needs two specific things in order to work. First is that it must feel genuine, which we've already covered, but secondly is the protagonist. Mia must be a believable teenager, stuck-up, ambitious, rebellious, but can't be too much of a total b*tch. And while the most recognizable name in the movie is Michael Fassbender (He's going to be Magneto in the upcoming X-Men: First Class), Katie Jarvis is the real star.

The way she portrays Mia is completely perfect in every sense of the word. She's stuck-up, a little bratty, rebellious, longs for more, but she grows on the viewer as we learn more about her. She's so realistic that it almost feels like director Andrea Arnold just found her in the middle of the street and cast her in the movie...and speaking of which, that's exactly what happened. The fact that this is Jarvis's first time acting just makes the performance that much more stunning. I would love nothing more than to see her break-out as a real star.

It has that tried and true coming-of-age story formula that we've seen many times before, but the richness of the characters, the realism of the world around them, and the stellar performances make it much more.

Final Verdict: I wish that I could come up with more things to say in this review, because words can not describe how much I ended up absolutely adoring this movie, so these are the adjectives I felt while watching Fish Tank. It's sad, beautiful, bleak, hopeful, disturbing, and heart-breaking all at once. It is now available on Netflix Watch Instantly, so now, you have no excuse to miss out on Fish Tank. Not just for art-house losers like myself, but for anyone who has ever gone through that angsty period in their life that we simultaneously wish we could forget, but also know was essential in our experience of growing up. Easily one of the best coming-of-age stories in a long time.

That's all for now.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:07 am

http://www.alicetynan.com/2011/04/dvd-fish-tank.html

Friday, April 8, 2011
DVD: Fish Tank

Andrea Arnold may currently be adapting Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, but the Academy Award-winning director has already etched her own canonical cinematic work. Thematically, visually and viscerally, Fish Tank is a remarkable achievement; a coming-of-age story that puts a contemporary and gendered twist on the Angry Young Men oeuvre of 1960s British Cinema.

Fish Tank is the story of Mia (Katie Jarvis), a 15-year-old tearaway rattling around the rusty cage of council estate Essex. A powder keg of attitude and hormones, the only thing that keeps Mia sane is hip hop dancing and drinking cider. But when her pretty young mum Joanne (Kierston Wareing) brings home Connor (Michael Fassbender), Mia is soon warily enamoured of his kindly consideration and driven to distraction by his beautiful physique.

In what is tantamount to a dance of young lust and devastating naïveté, Arnold’s camera bears witness to Mia’s transformation as well as her entrapment. While the symbols of her captivity are perhaps a little overplayed, with Jarvis, Fassbender and Wareing Arnold achieves an utterly mesmerising pas de trois. Indeed, Jarvis is a force of nature in her debut role, while Fassbender effortlessly balances a palpable sexuality with warm, fatherly concern. Combined, it’s a potent, unforgettable mix and one that Arnold corrals into her striking and seductive crucible, the fish tank.

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Fish Tank is now available on DVD
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:16 am

http://spellboundcinema.blogspot.com/2011/04/fish-tank-2009.html

Friday, April 8, 2011
Fish Tank (2009)
Posted by Daniel Orion Davis at 12:18 AM
Katie Jarvis in a career-making performance

Andrea Arnold's sophomore feature Fish Tank is, quite simply, one of the best films of the last ten years. Had it just had Arnold's pitch-perfect, naturalistic script, or the sumptuous cinematography of Robbie Ryan, or the typically tremendous performance from Michael Fassbender, or the dazzling turn from newcomer Katie Jarvis -- any one of these elements alone would have ensured this film critical notice. But that this film brings all of these to the table guarantees that it will only grow in stature as more audiences are introduced to its riches.


Katie Jarvis plays 15-year old Mia, a suspicious and guarded youth living with her mother and younger sister in low-income housing in Essex. Mia is a prickly character, prone to fits of rage and violence, yet she is the product of her environment, the metaphorical fish tank of the title. Her mother is still an adolescent herself, in all but age, emotionally and financially ill-equipped to provide for her daughters. The trio seem incapable of expressing familial affection; the only tongue they're fluent in is cursing and screaming.

Outside is no better. As Mia prowls the streets scamming money for booze and seeking refuge from her miserable home life she is beset on all sides by a world that is at best indifferent to her needs and often downright hostile -- she is hounded by a pack of girls her age who seem to hate her for her refusal to sexualize herself as they have; she's nearly raped by a group of guys who catch her trying to free a horse she believes is being starved.

If all this sounds unbearably depressing, believe me when I say this is not your typical indie "poverty expose," all grit and hopelessness. First, there is the sun-drenched cinematography of Robbie Ryan which is simply a wonder to behold. Ryan never fails to find the beauty in even the starkest of environments with warm, bold colors and a masterful command of the camera's field of view. In one particularly lovely scene, Mia dances in an abandoned apartment at night. We see her from behind, a silhouette framed by the window. The camera's focus shifts sleepily between her moving form and the lights of the night sky until, for a moment, they seem to be but one kaleidoscopic display of light and shadow. Thus the audience gets to share in the feeling of peace and escape that Mia finds in her dancing.

The second reason why this film never becomes depressing is that Arnold's script never wallows in the relative squalor of its setting. Although the ubiquitous TV serves as a constant reminder of Mia's place in society (particularly when we see younger sister Tyler watching a MTV Cribs-type show in which a vapid young woman shows off her decadent home), this is no political screed. We need to understand the setting because we need to understand Mia, and it's that focus on the particular rather than the cliche of the general that sings life into every scene.

Fassbender and Jarvis getting closer

The relative stability of Mia's home-life is disrupted when her mother brings home handsome security guard Connor (Michael Fassbender). Mia is suspicious of Connor precisely because he seems so trustworthy. Unlike anyone else in her life, he is not a font of hostility, but rather he treats her entire family with affection and compassion.

In one amazing scene that Arnold fills with all of the tension of the best horror films, Mia has passed out on her mother's bed after stealing a bottle of vodka from her mom's party. Connor carries her to her room and puts her in bed and all the air is sucked out of the room as he begins to undress her. His actions here dance along the line between paternal affection and a predatory sexuality, and we in the audience are on the edge of our seats to see which side of the line he ends up on.

Fassbender proves here, yet again, that he is one of the greatest actors of his generation. His character calls for him to be by turns charming and sleazy, yet never lose our basic sympathy. That he remains an understandable character even after he has violated one of our society's deepest taboos speaks volumes both of his skill as an actor and of the tremendous script from director and screenwriter Andrea Arnold.

Mia arms herself against the world.

In the end, however, the most important element to this film's success is the breath-taking performance from Katie Jarvis. Like Virginie Ledoyen in A Single Girl or Irène Jacob in The Double Life of Veronique, Jarvis is asked to carry the entire film on her shoulders. She is in virtually every shot; her subjectivity defines the film. So much of the movie is spent watching her observing those around her, negotiating her world and its limited possibilities of escape. That she can take the audience through a very, very dark third act and offer a promise of hope, however small, indicates that Katie Jarvis is a major new talent that I'm certain we'll be seeing much more from in the future.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:58 am

http://moviebuzzard.blogspot.com/2011/04/fish-tank-2009.html

Saturday, April 9, 2011
Fish Tank (2009)

FISH TANK (2009) ¢ ¢ ¢ 1/2
D: Andrea Arnold
Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths,
Harry Treadaway, Kierston Wareing, Sarah Bayes
Nobody does working-class despair better than the Brits. This movie's about a 15-year-old girl named Mia, who has what you might call anger management issues. She lives with her mother and younger sister in a noisy, crumbling flat in a kind of urban no man's land, where she's apparently dodging school and pinning her hopes for the future on catching a break as a dancer. Her dogged ambition greatly outweighs her actual prospects. She's played by Katie Jarvis, a newcomer who has the surly teenage rebellion routine down cold, apparently from living it. It's a remarkable debut performance, as real as Mia's tank-top-and-sweat-pants wardrobe and the junkyard where her potential new boyfriend steals parts for used cars. After watching it, you'll be real glad you didn't grow up in this rundown corner of England. But you'll remember one who did, at least on film. And you'll remember Katie Jarvis.

Posted by Nick Hinauslehnen at 12:15 PM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:29 pm

http://karen-on.com/2011/04/17/fish-tank-movie-review/

Movie Night In: ‘Fish Tank’
Posted by Karen Datangel ⋅ April 17, 2011

It’s a fact: Being a teenager is hard enough as it is (Or was, for those of us lucky enough to have grown past that period). But living in a lower-class household with your foul-mouthed mother and little sister (While being foul-mouthed yourself) and being a social outcast is even harder as a teenager. Then an unexpected person comes into your life and attempts to make it better…or do they? This is the scenario that is played out on screen in Andrea Arnold’s award-winning (2010 BAFTA for Best British Film) coming-of-age indie, 2009′s Fish Tank.

Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a 15-year-old Essex misfit with dreams of becoming a hip-hop dancer. Ill-tempered, she often gets into verbal altercations with her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), her peers, and even strangers. One day, Mia meets Joanne’s latest boyfriend, a handsome Irishman named Connor (Michael Fassbender). Connor seems promising in making life better for the family, and helps Mia overcome her social challenges. But when the unexpected happens and an even more unexpected discovery is made, Mia’s life—and the lives of her mother and sister—threatens to turn completely upside down once again.

The opening shot of Fish Tank—of Mia looking out the window of her housing estate—sets forth the intimate narrative, a story of an adolescent girl trapped in a broken home and in her flawed self. Arnold accomplishes excellence by allowing viewers to see and feel the limited world through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s thorough and dramatic, and true indie cinema with soul. There are scenes of the high tensions with Mia and her family and her ventures into the streets, attempting to dodge the other girls who chastise her, but ends up retaliating with her tough mouth instead. Then there are scenes of her awkwardly practicing her hip-hop moves. There’s also her watching other dancers both in-person and on YouTube, and you can sense both the happiness as Mia continues to realize her ambition, and jealousy when she watches the scantily clad teenage girls outside her home do it, unhesitating to tell them she has a problem with their “table dancing.”

Then there’s Connor. He’s charming, witty, has model looks, and clearly brings out qualities in Mia that are unseen early in the movie. With Connor, Mia shows warmth. Her constant mug curls into smiles and she shows a willingness to engage in and embrace positive human interaction, all while retaining her snarky, rebel attitude. There’s somewhat of a father figure quality to Connor. He tucks Mia in bed after she unexpectedly falls asleep in her mother’s room, tends to a wound she gets when the two pull a fish out of lake, and he obliges when she visits him at work one day with a new friend (Played by Henry Treadaway) and cons him into lending them money for booze. But throughout, uncomfortable complexities in the developing friendship show its fangs. The last 40 minutes or so can be a bit shocking, perhaps disturbing as reality is revealed. However, as the film comes to a close, it is evidential that Mia has grown up through whatever ordeals she has experienced in the past and the ordeals we, the viewers, have experienced with her.

Jarvis as the troubled Mia is one-of-a-kind as the temperamental lead. Having never acted in a film before Fish Tank (She was supposedly discovered by a talent agent while arguing with her boyfriend at a train station featured in the movie), rawness and grit come seamlessly in her very believable portrayal of the strong teen character. The young Griffiths is rude and inhibited, yet likable and endearing as the little sister Tyler, and Wareing as the stinging, though sometimes oblivious, matriarch embodies the lack of stable and loving parentage in Mia’s life. Fassbender, who from the cast has made the biggest mainstream American crossover with Inglorious Basterds and has a plentiful roster of big films coming up later this year, fits into the role of the cool and mysterious Irish boyfriend flawlessly. He naturally has the free spirit for Jarvis’ character to find her own, but also the dark power that Connor possesses to eventually destroy what should have been a good thing.

A story that can resonate with many and is told with hard talk, heartbreak, and hope through Arnold’s wide and open vision and the incredible acting chops of Jarvis and company, Fish Tank paints a provocative and thoughtful portrait of hard-luck English teenage life.

OVERALL: 9/10
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:15 pm

http://actionman-nickspix.blogspot.com/2011/04/movies-for-weekend_22.html

Friday, April 22, 2011
MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND
I'd like to see Water for Elephants but not sure if I'll have the time to see it this weekend.

Nothing at home from Netflix; sending Fish Tank back today after watching it last night -- holy s$#! what a punch to the gut that film was. Bleak storytelling but forcefully acted and extremely well written by writer/director Andrea Arnold. Michael Fassbender was slimy brilliance and first time lead actress Katie Jarvis was just exceptional. It's a tough, gritty, dirty-feeling movie but well done in all respects. The last 15 minutes or so were truly unpredictable and more than a little unnerving.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:21 pm

http://flickerobsession.blogspot.com/2011/04/quick-takes-i-love-you-phillip-morris.html

Michael Fassbender first caught my eye in Inglourious Basterds, in which he played Hickox, the Lt. with the suspicious German accent. In his sole scene (Tarantino's bravura basement bar set piece), he made a terrific impression. Apparently, Hollywood agrees since he is slated to appear in 6 major new movies in the next two years, according to his IMDb profile. Meanwhile, he has received positive notices in the new Jane Eyre adaptation and last year's buzzed about indie, Fish Tank (2010). In the latter, Fassbender plays Connor, a friendly, handsome Irishman who changes the lives of three harsh, bitter women. The film focuses on 15-year-old Mia (Kate Jarvis), the older daughter of the woman Connor moves in with. Mia has a bad attitude towards everyone she knows; she spews vitriol and hatred to anyone who crosses her path. Jarvis, in her film debut, took a very difficult role (you just want to slap her during most of the movie) and turned Mia into a complex, compelling individual. Fish Tank is not an easy film to watch, but under the artful eye of writer/director Andrea Arnold and the alluring presence of rising star Fassbender, it deserves to be seen. 4/5
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:57 pm

http://moompitchers.blogspot.com/2011/04/lifes-bitchand-sos-your-mother.html

Monday, April 25, 2011
Life’s a bitch—and so’s your mother
Fish Tank 2009 UK (124 minutes) Written and directed by Andrea Arnold.
It took me a day or two after seeing this movie to realize that someone nearly managed to sneak a ballet by me in plain sight: in case this worries you, this is not a ‘dance picture’.
At first glance, it is a modern coming-of-age story structured along the lines of a British Victorian novel: a teenager progresses linearly through a series of emotional and moral challenges. But this tale is set in a contemporary council estate [public housing] in Essex, east of London, pretty far off the Masterpiece Theatre reservation.
The most striking thing one sees right away of this subculture is that words have little value. People spit words at each other or throw them like punches, and words not spit or punched often seem to express the opposite of what they mean. Televisions run nearly nonstop playing dance videos and babbling buckets of raw verbal nonsense. When someone feels something or has something important to say, she does this in movement and gesture; or she reads and responds to others’ gestures and movements. In a sense, they ‘dance’ all the time, which includes—but is not limited to—shoving, pushing, slapping, kicking, punching, pinching, head butting and wrestling each other.
The story opens with Mia Williams (Katie Jarvis) in the vacant flat that she uses as her dance studio. It is the summer of her fifteenth year. She is bent over breathing heavily, as though she has been exercising or is concentrating before beginning a new dance routine; she opens up to look straight at the camera.
Ecce puella!
It may be the gray training suit and hoodie she wears, it may be the rap and hip hop music she listens to, but watching Mia dance, especially at first, is a lot like watching a boxer train. It’s in her presentation as much as her display. What Mia wants to do more than anything else is to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Mia lives with her single mom Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and much younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). She faces what for anyone besides a teenager with boundless energy and lacking the experience to know better would be a physically exhausting and emotionally intense several weeks. Yet in this short period we get insight into this girl’s life and an idea as to where she might be heading.
She evidently is a ‘discipline problem’ for which she may be sent to a boarding school for ‘sorting out’ in the coming school term. This seems due mainly to her opposition to her alcoholic mother’s parental authority, an opposition she asserts with typically petulant adolescent righteousness. But despite her faults, Joanne is there for Mia; it is clear that both girls expect their mother to be there for them, and that Mia needs her mother as much as she needs to try her and to compete with her.
The actors in this movie seem more choreographed than directed. The scheme is modern, but the choreography, costumes and sets are less minimalist than incidental, and the movie’s threads weave into a whole that tells a story the way a ballet does.
In a sense, there is a princess and an evil queen: the princess is under a spell, but has the resources to break it; there is no king, but the queen has a consort, Connor (Michael Fassbender), a handsome knight—though he could have a dark side too. The princess also has a kind of prince-champion, Billy (Harry Treadaway), a nineteen-year-old whose trusty steed turns out to be not the old hornless unicorn Mia would ride away on, but an old Volvo automobile that Billy is cobbling together with scavenged parts.
Citing any one scene takes it out of a context hard to explain without dragging in others and spoiling plot points. Part of the marvel of this movie is watching it unfold, showing us this unusual girl who reveals herself to us in motion as she discovers herself. There is also a lot more to the other principal characters than at first meets the eye.
That said, one afternoon Connor takes Joanne and the girls in his car on a drive to a pond in the country where, with Mia’s help, he catches a fish with his bare hands. On the drive to this place, he puts on a Bobby Womack CD including Womack’s 1968 pop single cover of John and Michelle Phillips’ California Dreamin’.
Mia subsequently works up and practices her own dance steps for California Dreamin’ for an audition she arranges at a ‘top club’ which advertises by flyer that its pays ‘top rates’ for ‘fresh young talent’. The dance she creates does not follow the conventions of hip hop music videos—or anything else. It looks and feels like the kind of personal statement a teenager would make on a college application, except that it is danced rather than written. In a sense, this is exactly what it is: she prepares for and goes to the audition like an adult, but with a child’s wishful hope that it will get her the recognition she so desperately wants, solve her problems and make things right.
The audition speaks for itself. My sense is that this kid on the right track, against all odds. Maybe she will grow up to direct films. What seems to have left the biggest impression on Mia the summer she was fifteen is what she saw from Connor’s example above: you have to get out of the fish tank if you want to catch a fish.
Andrea Arnold tells a terrific story in pictures of bodies in motion, but in case you are squeamish or watch with kids, be advised that there is graphic sex and hefty helpings of physical, sexual, alcohol, child, and free flowing verbal abuse in the spinning of her tale.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdD7PQPQa08&NR=1&feature=fvwp (the official trailer)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewUt4LM_Fpo (Never mind the French subtitles: the scene sets the tone.)

Posted by Artie Bootle at 8:10 AM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:53 pm

http://themoviebros.com/2011/04/22/fish-tank/

Fish Tank
Posted on April 22, 2011 by The Movie Brothers| Leave a comment

The life of hot-tempered teen outcast Mia (Katie Jarvis) takes an unexpected turn when her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), brings home a handsome and mysterious boyfriend named Connor (Michael Fassbender), who pledges to bring sweeping positive changes to the household. British writer-director Andrea Arnold’s sophomore feature won Best British Film at the 2010 BAFTAs.

Brian
Rating: 8 out of 10

Fish Tank has a wonderful correlation that runs through the entire film. The main character, 15-year-old Mia, is troubled because her small world is changing. She no longer has a good relationship with her mother or sister, she has no girlfriends, and anytime she leaves her home is constantly in conflict with others.

At one point, she bumps into a rundown trailer park where she sees an old horse on its last legs. She becomes protective of the horse and demands the owner’s take better care of the animal. As the story progresses, the horse gets sicker and sicker and Mia’s life gets more and more complicated and confusing. I realized that the horse was a symbol of her lost innocence. What better way to capture the end of childhood than a sick horse ready to be put down? All girls dream unrealistic dreams when they are young. They want to be a princess, marry a prince, and ride away in the sunset on their pony. So, what does a young girl do during a time when everything they knew isn’t as it seemed and the world grows darker and colder by the minute? They hold onto a hope for something better and Mia is no different. Her passion is for dance and the way it takes her away to a better place in her mind. There are several wonderful scenes where she dances alone in an apartment building to her music and you can feel what it means to her. The emotional connection I felt was largely due to the wonderful performance by Katie Jarvis in the lead. Her scenes are never forced or overacted. They play out eloquently and in service to the story.

Is everything perfect here? No. While I really enjoyed Mia’s story, there was a sense that there could have been more character interaction. Mia’s mother and sister are largely wasted as after thoughts when they could have been central in how Mia faces the challenges she does (I won’t spoil them here). “Fish Tank” is wonderful at presenting confusion but does very little in resolving it. Some viewers would call that a strength but I consider it a weakness. Some filmmakers like to leave a lot open ended to let the viewer imagine what could or should have happened to the characters. But, it’s not about what I think should happen to Mia. That’s the storyteller’s job and they let me down a little near the end. But, for those that like cerebral coming of age stories, Fish Tank is a must see.
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