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Fish Tank Reviews part 2

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:38 am

http://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/fish-tank-no-29/

Fish Tank (no 29)

June 21, 2010 by wondersinthedark

by Allan Fish

(UK 2009 121m) DVD1/2

Getting wasted

p Kees Kasander d/w Andrea Arnold ph Robbie Ryan ed Nicolas Chaudeurge art Helen Scott

Katie Jarvis (Mia Williams), Michael Fassbender (Connor O’Reilly), Kierston Wareing (Joanne), Rebecca Griffiths (Tyler), Sarah Bayes (Keeley), Charlotte Collins (Sophie), Harry Treadaway (Billy), Brooke Hobby (London),

There’s a moment in Andrea Arnold’s Cannes success where the young protagonist, seemingly for want of anything better to do, states “let’s get wasted!” A common cry for a generation of what we have come colloquially to know as chavs and the usually depicted stereotypical attributes and accessories are there – attitude, language out of a sewer, hoodies, track suits, trainers, bling, daytime TV, cheap 12 inch portable TVs with built in DVD players and mothers not worthy of the title. In America they’re cheap white trash or trailer park class, over here it’s suburban council estates with the soul drained out of them till everyone is the same shade of grey as the vandalised one-time playgrounds round the corner. Any greenery there once was has turned to wasteland, and those who wander around this desolate place are wasted in more ways than one.

Take Mia Williams, the fifteen year old seriously angry daughter of a mother who probably had her when she was Mia’s age and has been living for the next benefit cheque and temporary boyfriend ever since. Kids, they just get in the way, both Mia and her younger sister, Tyler, who has already (and she’s no older than 11) taken to smoking and drinking. Mia has but one escape and that’s a love of hip-hop dancing. Truth be told, she’s hardly anything special, but she’s never been taught, never had anyone take an interest in her to encourage her in anything. That is until mum gets a new boyfriend, Connor, who takes a shine to Mia initially in a protective way, only for things to then take a turn for the complicated.

Much has been said about Andrea Arnold’s debt to Ken Loach, but in truth it doesn’t feel much like a Loach film and there are larger debts owed to Alan Clarke and, more recently, Shane Meadows, but here we have a woman director with, as in her earlier success Red Road, a female protagonist. If there’s a bigger influence still than all of the above, however, it must surely be the Dardenne Brothers for, though the sex is more explicit than you’ll ever see from Jean-Pierre and Luc, the similarities other than that could not be more potent, especially the eponymous protagonist in Rosetta. Both central protagonists are caught in a prison cell, but as the title suggests Mia’s has a view. She knows she wants out, but not merely for the sake of getting out. She wants to be noticed, wants someone to care enough so she can care enough about herself.

All of which could so easily descend into cliché, and indeed its plot does navigate its way through some rather clichéd developments, and yet it’s shot through with such an arrow-straight sense of documentary realism that it cuts to the quick. Watching it is like watching Kes forty years ago. It’s a cry out, a despairing banging of the head against the prefab walls. It’s raw, explicit, and owes much to the art-house cinema than it does to home-grown product – take, for example, the disturbing child kidnap sequence along the Thames estuary, which so uncannily evokes the plot of Dorota Kedzierzawska’s Crows. As for the characters, there’s no black and white here, not least Fassbender’s Connor, a complex figure of both good and bad elements and somewhere in between, and giving Fassbender further opportunity to deepen the impression made in Hunger. Note also the tenderness of his scenes with newcomer Jarvis, who turns from feral to vulnerable at the drop of a hat, as likely to hug you as head-butt you, reduced to instinctive acts of retribution, starting with breaking into Connor’s home, dropping the trademark track suit to pee on his carpet and degenerating from there through the aforementioned fraught kidnapping to the inevitable breaking point in a field at night. Let’s have no more comparisons; Arnold isn’t another Ken Loach, she’s more than that; she’s herself.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jun 28, 2010 1:20 am

http://subtitleliterate.blogspot.com/2010/06/fish-tank-2009.html

Sunday, June 27, 2010
Fish Tank (2009)
Director: Andrea Arnold
Country: United Kingdom

Fish Tank was one of the most celebrated films of last year, making a particularly deep impression at the Cannes Film Festival, where it tied with Park Chan-wook's Thirst for the Jury Prize. Remarkably, director Andrea Arnold has now won that very award twice, the first time being on the strength of her first feature film Red Road. Having also won an Oscar for her 2003 short film Wasp, she is clearly a fresh talent in contemporary cinema worth keeping an eye on.

Fish Tank revolves around fifteen year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis, an inexperienced newcomer), a tough misfit who lives with her little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) and single mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) in a shabby apartment building in the Essex area of London. Her independent nature is asserted early on when she bickers with a group of scantily-clad girls practicing dance moves, breaking one's nose. One of her few safe havens is the empty room with blue walls where she practices her own dancing alone, often resting to look upon the world out the window. Music and dancing serve as means of escape for Mia, eventually offering some hope for the future in the form of a notice for an audition for female dancers. Noticeably, there is no music on the film's soundtrack, though songs frequently play from CD players and televisions (mostly hip-hop), surrounding the characters. Another distraction soon arrives in Mia's life: Connor (Michael Fassbender), Joanne's new boyfriend. A tentative friendship slowly forms between him and Mia as he encourages her to send a video for the dance audition and lends her his camcorder. As she visits him at work and becomes more comfortable in his presence, an underlying sexual tension becomes more apparent between them, testing Mia in ways both foreshadowed and unexpected.

Arnold's portrayal of Mia's life is rendered in an observational, fly-on-the-wall manner using hand-held camerawork and sharp attention to detail. Mia's apartment is a space that looks and feels lived in, a sensation reinforced by such elements as the tiger poster that adorns Mia's door, cluttered living room where Mia and her sister watch television, various knick-knacks, framed pictures and stickers and sketches that cover walls and furniture. Soft light and colors often fill the frame, casting dreamy hues of yellow, pinks and blue on the actors' faces. This look offers a contrast to the rougher sequences shot outside of the apartment when Mia wanders on her own. An eerie junkyard, busy roads, empty fields, menacing storm clouds and the roaring sea all provide the impression of a hazardous, unfriendly world through which the young heroine must navigate. She visits a gray horse chained in a barren lot and makes repeated, increasingly risky efforts to free it. Her actions are often rash and impulsive (particularly in an agonizingly suspenseful passage towards the end), consistently reflecting the raging storm of feelings that swirl inside her.

Carrying on the legacy of films like The 400 Blows, Fish Tank is an uncompromisingly gritty portrayal of youth. Arnold refuses to dip too far into clichéd territory as she tells Mia's story, but when she uses familiar elements, they nonetheless feel fresh and honest. Her vision is a unique and invigorating one perfectly suited to the story material, nicely accommodating strong performances (particularly the remarkable Jarvis) amid a vivid assertion of setting and mood. With an adaptation of Wuthering Heights billed as her next project, Arnold is certainly on a roll that hopefully won't let up anytime soon.
Posted by Marc Saint-Cyr at 2:15 PM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:52 pm

http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2010/07/half-time-top-10-best-films-of-year-so.html

4. Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
British filmmakers made two films in 2009 about a teenage girl falling for an older man. An Education went on to garner Oscar nominations and become one of the more critically acclaimed films of the year (and it is a wonderful one), but I think Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank – which got little more than a cursory release early this year – was the better film. Katie Jarvis gives a remarkable debut performance as a poor teenage girl, with a mother who bounces from one boyfriend to another. The latest is Michael Fassbender (brilliant as always), and at first he seems like he could be an ally for Jarvis – he is kind and supportive of his dreams of becoming a dancer. But when they look at each other, we can tell they both have something more on their minds – their gazes last just a little too long. This is not really a film about a lecherous older man taking advantage of an innocent teenager – for one thing, Fassbender isn’t quite that old, and Jarvis isn’t quite that innocent – but a film that looks at the situation with its eyes wide open, and doesn’t pull any punches, nor try to make everything seem romantic. It is an acutely observed movie anchored by two of the very best performances of the year.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:09 pm

http://goldenpensive.blogspot.com/2010/07/fish-tank-2009.html

fredag 9. juli 2010
Fish Tank (2009)
This British indie film is stripped of glamour and anything superfluous, and it hits hard. The repressed anger creates a tension that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through, flipping from frustration, to worry, to empathy. It's a good movie, very real, and it left me with a great sense of sadness...

So, Mia is a 15 year old English girl with serious anger issues, and with good reason. She lives with her mother and younger sister, a family with too much yelling and booze, and too little care and boundaries. All her life keeping the world out, she has become introverted and temperamental. Now, with a serious crush on her mothers "latest catch", a possible break for her dancing and a nice guy with a car, life is suddenly breaking down her defences.

Runtime: 123 mins
Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:42 pm

http://awhilewithkyle.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/fish-tank/

Fish tank

Fish Tank (2009)

As I sit here writing a review on a state of the art computer, having watched this film on a large television in my warm, loving family home I have been reminded that I am fortunate to be on the outside looking in.

Fish tank follows the fortunes of 15 year old Mia ( Katie Jarvis ), who lives with her mum and sister on an estate in Essex. Life inside the fish tank has made Mia closed off to others – until she meets her mum’s new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) that is. Their exchanges keeps the viewer guessing whether he is to become the father figure that she craves or if there is a sexual attraction between the two.
Dancing is Mia’s favorite pastime and she practices daily, away from the prying eyes of her mum and younger sister. (Indeed Connor is the only one who she isn’t reluctant to dance in front of). A side story throughout the film follows Mia’s attempt to secure an audition with a local talent scout, and this provides an enjoyable escape for not only Mia but the viewer as well.
Clever use of imagery (even in the name – Mia is the lone goldfish swimming around in the empty bowl that is her council estate) is abound in the film. Mia’s attempts to free an ailing horse that is chained up is particularly poignant. It is clear that it is Mia herself that needs freeing, and she can obviously relate to feeling the weight of chains around her ankles (emotional, social etc).

Altogether a very enjoyable yet hard hitting film. It reminds us that life is difficult for many youngsters growing up in Britain today, and many like Mia must surely feel trapped. She, like many others is merely a victim of circumstance. The final scene showing a balloon floating away must surely symbolise the dreams of many who are stuck inside such ‘fish tanks’ – aspirations that slip out of reach, or an escape that is not forthcoming .

A superb, thought provoking film that you won’t forget in a hurry.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:06 pm

http://letmebreakitdown4you.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/fish-tank/


Fish Tank
August 2, 2010
tags: Andrea Arnold, Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender
by letmebreakitdown4you

This movie is an impressive little bit o’ film making.

The story is that Mia (Katie Jarvis) wants to be a hip-hop dancer but she is a s$#! disturber. Her moms trash and they live in estates which are the same as projects in America or Scarborough in Toronto. Her mom begins dating a new guy Connor (Michael Fassbender) who is good for her dysfunctional family. They kinda sorta begin to act like normal people from time to time… and he begins to encourage Mia in her dream. She gains confidence and starts to see that there is something more to aim for then being a 30 something drunk who can dance well like her mom… although her mom is pretty hot. Anyway… things are going well but there is always a but… mayhaps Connor and Mia are making too much of a connection… dun dun duuuuuuun

This movie is awesome. After his performance in Inglorious Basterds I said to myself “Who is this Michael Fassbender fellow?” and then I downloaded Fish Tank… however I deleted it and rented it like a year later… when I remembered it and that Fassbender is going to Magneto in the upcoming X-Men: First Class. Fassbender is perfect in this movie. He is a very likable and interesting character. I see why he is making a name for himself… impressive.

The rest of the cast is great but the real reason to watch this movie is the story. It is really a great script because of how realistic it is… at no point did I feel like they ventured into the realm of hollywood magic. This story could easily be true and even in the situations of heightened emotion they didn’t overstep by going too far to make a point… for example a scene where a character could beat another one severely (so that the audience would feel the rage) they only slap the person once (because in real life the character wouldn’t do that). Thats just an example but it is the little things in this movie that make it superior to most of the indie dramas I’ve seen recently.

Check it out and ‘ecognize Fassbenders skillz
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:47 am

http://thedartmouth.com/2010/08/10/arts/fishtank


‘Fish Tank’ depicts teenage angst

Katie Jarvis plays Mia, an angry fifteen-year-old who finds comfort in dance and confiding in her mother’s charismatic boyfriend.

Courtesy Of Fishtankmovie.Com

By Linda Chen, The Dartmouth Staff

Published on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

As the newest installment of Dartmouth Film Society’s Leading Ladies series, “Fish Tank” (2009) is not the typical light-hearted summer film. Laced with raw and unfiltered pain and angst, the emotions that the characters experience feel real, as scenes are so vividly crafted that even the most outrageous moments will make viewers want to cry alongside the characters.

“Fish Tank” follows the broken and perhaps not-so-naïve childhood of Mia (Katie Jarvis), a disheveled and often hungover fifteen-year-old, living with her promiscuous and neglectful mother (Kierston Wareing) and younger sister. In a household where the “B” word is the most popular form of address, the pain and rage that boils under Mia’s skin is often released in the form of foul language and verbal attacks at her mother, sister or anyone who crosses her path at an untimely moment.

Life in the Sussex projects of England continues bleakly as Mia turns to her only escape — dancing. Even then, it is not enough to keep her out of trouble and from her increasing alcoholism — until the day her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender) appears in their lives and seems to fill the male void that the three women in this dysfunctional family unknowingly craved. Kind and ruggedly attractive, Connor’s presence is the catalyst of “Fish Tank,” as he livens Mia’s stagnant and gloomy existence.

While the dialogue in “Fish Tank” is limited — the film’s few exchanges are often crass and brute — the sentiments from the unspoken words ring loud and clear. The awkward and unsettling moments of silence in the film scream with pain and anger as various characters’ quiet reflections reveal the unbearable weight of a dead-end future.

Jarvis is a captivating actress and realistically portrays Mia’s complexities. In the difficult role of balancing the façade of toughness while still revealing underlying vulnerability, Jarvis certainly excels in her first acting role. Discovered by a casting director at the Tilbury Train Station — a location cleverly featured in the film — audience members might be left to wonder if the role of tortured teen is one with which Jarvis has personal experience.

Fassbender occupies an equally convincing role as the leading male figure, although his character shifts between that of noble father figure to one of a shady boyfriend. This vacillation is easily forgiven, however, as his presence provides temporary emotional reprieve and cuts the thick air of gloom that slowly invades the overall tone of this film.

His irresistible good looks and accented charm certainly don’t hurt, either.

While the plot of “Fish Tank” moves a bit too slowly for a two-hour film, director Andrea Arnold makes up for the lethargic pace of the movie by indulging viewers with incredible detail. In a scene where Mia fails to release a chained and sickly horse from a junkyard after being attacked and chased away by its owners, the viewer can almost personally sense the ache as Mia feels the imagined chain around her own neck tighten, locking her more securely to her miserable state of being.

Purely symbolic and heavy with emotion, Arnold paints an incredible surrealism and grace into the scene, yet interweaves it seamlessly into the otherwise harsh realities of the movie, complete with washed-out lighting and jerky camera pans.

Winner of multiple film awards, including the Jury Prize at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, “Fish Tank” is undoubtedly a worthwhile movie, although perhaps not suitable for all occasions. Like the critically-acclaimed “Precious” and other honest portrayals of the struggling working class, this film is unflinching and brutally frank, leaving the viewer thoughtful — if a bit shaken — but ultimately and undeniably satisfied.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:00 pm

http://wiyllow.livejournal.com/2795.html

Tales of Innocence and Experience.

* 12th Aug, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Carey Mulligan

I've watched these two films in the last two days, after reading a review on Rolling Stone Italia that considered them as twins. The woman who wrote the review, Violetta Bellocchio, is one of the coolest personalities here in Italy, and she has a great taste in cinema and music. So, I decided to trust her words and went through this mini-marathon.

Fish Tank has been the english surprise of the year, taking almost anything in the UK, getting nominated all around Europe, winning the Jury Prize at Cannes and now starting to get known to the major public (Academy snubbed it but, without some exceptions, we are getting used to not seeing quality films at the Oscars, aren't we?). The plot is focused on a fifteen-year-old girl, Mia (Katie Jarvis at her astonishing debut), who lives in an Essex council estate with a negligent mother and a young sister that behaves like an adult. Mia is a bored misfit with a passion for hip-hop, no friends and in conflict with pretty much every person she knows, starting from her family. The difficult (to use an euphemism) situation of the three seems to change when Connor (Michael Fassbender, either dreamy or creepy, your choice, mine is both) enters their life: he's the new lover of Joanne (Mia's mother) but, as far as it seems, he's normal, with an average economical situation, even sensible and caring towards Joanne and the girls. Especially Mia: he empathizes with the teen and encourages her to follow her dream and become a professional dancer. It may look like the beginning for a new happy family, but only if you watch it with your eyes closed (paraphrasing Bellocchio) you won't notice that it's not going to end up like this.

On the other hand, the success of An Education was largely anticipated: a talented danish director, Lone Scherfig (Italian For Beginners), a brilliant cast (Emma Thompson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper and Sally Hawkins only on secondary roles), one of the most popular english authors, Nick Hornby, as screenwriter and the omonimous memoir of a Sunday Times journalist, Lynn Barber, that inspired the screenplay. The story is about the love affair between Jenny (Carey Mulligan, who debuted in Joe Wright's Pride And Prejudice as Kitty Bennet and who is certainly remembered by all Doctor Who fans for her role as Sally Sparrow in one of the best episode of the series, Blink) and David (Peter Sarsgaard, we learned not to trust him since Flightplan). Jenny is a sixteen-year-old clever schoolgirl, mature for her age, with the only dream to go to Oxford before she meets David, a charming thirty-something that makes her discover a new electrifiyng world: she brings her to classical music concerts, art auctions, jazz clubs, even Paris. Helped by the blind trust of her parents (Cara Seymour and a great Alfred Molina), Jenny finds out that school isn't anything compared with the life she's just begun to live, and this will drive her to make radical decision. But the unending school that is life has reserved for her another lesson to learn.

Both films have basically the same theme: a relationship between a young girl and an older man (they also end in a very similar way). And there's nothing original about it, a lot of movies were made to ask the question "does age counts?" (even here in Italy, but it's better not to mention it, it's only superficial rubbish). But the resemblances between the two are not over. First of all, they're both directed by women, and even if at the end the two main male characters are negative, there is no intent to bring a feminist message. Also, Lone Scherfig contributed to the screenplay of Red Road, Andrea Arnold's acclaimed debut.

Both stories are represented by the main character's point of view, but while Scherfig is more objective, Arnold wants us to see things exactly like Mia sees them. Speaking of which, she has a great similarity (but also a great difference) with Jenny: they're strong and independent, but innocent and naive at the same time. In spite of Mia's social background and Jenny's intelligence, they fall in love with men they really don't know. Both experiences are not positive, but help the girls understand what they really want from their life.

The last things in common between Fish Tank and An Education (which is also the strong point of the two movies) are the amazing performances by the four main actors: Carey Mulligan (who's actually twenty-five) has a natural charm and brilliance that makes you empathize immediately with her character. She has been nominated for "Best Actress" at this year's Academy Awards ®, but in my opinion her skills are equal to Katie Jarvis', who plays Mia in a terrifically realistic way, giving her all the vulnerability and the uneasiness of a teenager (fact: she was discovered while sprightly arguing with her boyfriend in a Tilbury railway station). Michael Fassbender and Peter Sarsgaard had to play two inconvenient roles, and they definitely succeeded: both mysterious and charming (even if in a slightly alarming way) at the beginning, while Connor remains a strong and enigmatic character until the end, Sarsgaard's David ends up to be insignificant (and Dominic Cooper steals his scene at times).

In conclusion, these two films are both great in their own special way, and I recommend you to watch them as two complementary formation tales about (quoting Blake) innocence and experience.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:07 pm

http://247pictures365.blogspot.com/2010/08/fish-tank-2009.html

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Fish Tank (2009)
Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Kate Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths, Kierston Wareing, Jason Maza
Genre: Drama, Teen

Fish Tank is a kick in your stomach, without having to go to the extremes. It demands your attention, without screaming at you. We've seen life at housing estates before, we've seen British harsh realism before, we've seen teens acting out before, but this time we get it all at once. There might be fewer guns at the British estates than the American ones seen in "The Wire", but the longing for a way out isn't any less understandable.

Mia, fifteen, living with her drunk of a single mom and her little sister, Tyler. Mia's suspended from school. A rebellious and fight-picking outcast looking to get away from her fish tank. Dreaming of making it as a professional dancer. Getting out of there thanks to her moves. Anything but her everyday life as she knows it. Life might just have something else in mind. Her mother's new boyfriend comes into their life, and we get to take part in Mia's changes.

Arnold takes us on an interesting journey. Not only is her description of Brit's white trash life perfectly accurate, but she manages to get all those small details right: The anticipation of what's about to happen, from a person who knows what's coming. The desperation in a run. The hope in a touch. I'm equal amounts of impressed and worried, as it just takes a certain kind of knowledge and experiences to get right so much of what she brings to this movie.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:22 pm

http://blog.quickflix.com.au/2010/09/all-young-dudettes-fish-tank-review.html

2 September 2010
All the young dudettes - Fish Tank review

Fish Tank - Starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender and Kierston Wareing. Directed by Andrea Arnold. Rated MA. Originally published May 17, 2010. 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 a part 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 is now out on DVD.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:09 pm

http://worldforfree.net/movie/1146307456-fish-tank-2009-bdrip-x264-ghia.html

Fish Tank (2009) | 1.02 GB

"All my films have started with an image," says director Andrea Arnold. "It's usually quite a strong image and it seems to come from nowhere. I don't understand the image at first or what it means, but I want to know more about it so I start exploring it, try and understand it and what it means. This is how I always start writing." What does the image of a fish tank conjure up for you? On the inside longing to look out, is fifteen-year-old Mia. Trapped in a housing estate. Trapped in a single parent family. Trapped by people around her she can't respect. Trapped in herself. For being fifteen. She has her own inner world, fighting to manifest itself . Fortified by cigarettes and alcohol she can kick in the door of the empty nearby flat. A bare floor. Her CD player. Practice her moves. A better dancer than those kids on the block she just nutted.

Mia is quite content to carve out her own double life, f*ck you very much! Never mind she gets caught and nearly comes to grief trying to steal a horse. And social workers don't scare her. But mom's new boyfriend – that could be a pain! A real spanner in the works. Especially when he's so annoyingly nice.

Under Andrea Arnold's hand, life on this inner city concrete backwater is suddenly very alive. Banalities become beautiful. Like sunlight through cracked glass. Vibrant, gritty and riveting, but in a way that entertains powerfully. As pulsating and funny as Trainspotting but without the yuck factor. Its momentum is overpowering. We never know what is going to come out of Mia's mouth or where events will lead. Each jaw-dropping new scene surprises yet seems the result of inexorable momentum. As if that wasn't enough, the story mercifully avoids kitchen-sink drama, excessive violence, drugs, getting pregnant, grand larceny, car crashes and all the other cliché-ridden devices to which cinema-goers are usually subjected. Tightly controlled, Fish Tank attacks with a potent and thought-provoking arsenal of story-telling.

Andrea Arnold proved she could do hard-hitting realism with her award-winning debut, Red Road. Here she excels her earlier efforts but still imbibes many of the verité approaches and senses of discipline that have filtered down from the Dogme and Advance Party movements. Her 'strong initial image,' or lack of subservience to more traditional methodology, maybe reminds of the devotion to experimental, avant-garde cinema taken by artists-turned-filmmakers such as Steve McQueen (Hunger) or theme-over-story technicians such as Duane Hopkins (Better Things). Michael Fassbender, who took reality to new heights as Bobby Sands in Hunger, here plays the mystifying and warmly charismatic Connor (Mum's boyfriend).

Arnold didn't allow actors to read the script beforehand. They were given their scenes only a few days before filming. For the part of Mia, she chooses a complete unknown with zero experience. Arnold spotted Katie Jarvis at a train station after drawing a blank with casting agencies. "She was on one platform arguing with her boyfriend on another platform, giving him grief." However the performance is achieved, Jarvis is electrifying. If Arnold wanted a 'real' person for the role, this seventeen-year-old takes over the screen with raw adolescent power. Says Arnold, "I wanted a girl who would not have to act, could just be herself." Fish Tank will lift you out of your seat and on an unstoppable flight, ricocheting against confines of circumstance and imploding a dysfunctional family with its head of hormonal steam. Laugh, cry, hold on tight. You will need to. I could almost taste the vodka, as Mia goes through her Mum's dressing table drawers, bottle in hand. I wish all British films were this good.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:01 pm

http://framingfilm.blogspot.com/2010/09/as-title-suggests-fish-tank-is-to-be.html

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Fish Tank

As the title suggests, Fish Tank is to be looked at. It is to be looked at because it’s the second film from Andrea Arnold, following her terrific debut feature length film Red Road in 2006. It is to be looked at because it depicts the laboured existence of so many teenagers in modern society, and because it depicts this in a manner that few others could achieve. It is to be looked at because it is harsh, grim, and real. In a nutshell, we follow 15 year old Mia (debutant Katie Jarvis) as she struggles with her life in a working class London suburb, and in particular the various emotions associated with being a young teenage girl. And she really puts on a show.

The story goes that Jarvis was spotted by a member of the crew while arguing with her boyfriend at Tilbury Town railway station, the one used in the film itself. She was also unemployed and had dropped out of school. Essentially, she’s not acting at all, this is as real as it gets. Perhaps because of this she is able to provide incredible displays of powerful emotion, the kind of performance that almost saw her land the part of Lisbeth Salander for the impending remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Of course, there’s always a reason for such heightened emotion, and Mai’s life is fraught with tension. Her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing)is a middle aged slut, openly throwing boozy parties and unashamedly bringing men back to her dingy apartment whenever suits. Her younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) treats her with typical sibling disdain, to which she gladly reciprocates. She appears to have no friends, and as a result she is left out of any ongoing activities with the other girls her age- a clear cut example of this occurs in the opening scene, where she innocently watches the other girls dancing. Her very presence causes friction, and as her volatile temper spills over she headbutts another girl, who we later discover has suffered a broken nose.

The arrival of Connor (Michael Fassbender) in her life, as she dances in her pyjamas to a music video on television early one morning, sparks a change in the young girl. The teenage crush is obvious, but given that he is more than twice her age, not to mention her mother’s new boyfriend, there’s a sense straight away that there will be trouble ahead. She is infatuated with him, and his free spirited ways, and does whatever she can to spend more time with him, whenever possible. In turn, he offers her everything that she has been lacking- a friend and a father figure all in one, even encouraging her to push for her dream of becoming a dancer, going as far as providing a video camera to record herself to answer a job application.

There is always a sense that this is hurtling towards the obvious, and hints as to Connor’s motives are not hidden by Arnold. Instead, she focuses on the emotional development of Mia, or lack thereof, for the most part. Although Connor brings out the best in Mia- showing her a happier and more fun-filled life, her destructive, spontaneous and thoughtless tendencies still shine through, including an on-off relationship with a genuinely interested young lad, and an awkward scene in which she extracts her own form of revenge on Connor.

Throughout the film however, Arnold ‘s greatest achievement is her depiction of the world in which Mia lives, and how relative it is to her. Personal relationships aside, there is a sense that there is a betrayal of the real world, a failure in what it can provide for Mia. Within the cramped confines of her estate she is comfortable, she knows her surroundings and what everything stands for, such as the ability to practice her dance routines within the quiet confines of an abandoned apartment and even down to her mother’s lifestyle choices there are no secrets here. Visually we are aware of this quite often also, with many of the estate shots feeling quite restricted spatially, particularly within the apartment itself.

Contrary to this, the real world outside of the poky suburban “Fish Tank” in which she lives, causes her much danger. From grazing her ankle while walking in a lake within an open plain, to the emotion pain that she receives having visited Connor’s very un-cramped semi-detached two story home later on in the film, the openness of the real world appears too much for Mia. It is this failure to understand the complexities of the world around her which enslaves Jarvis’ character, and leaves her lost. Ultimately, Fish Tank is to be looked at because this portrayal of the world in relation to a modern, troubled teenage girl is intriguing, realistic, and very, very accomplished.

Rating:
4/5
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:15 pm

http://mediabarnsleycollege.blogspot.com/2010/09/fish-tank.html

Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Fish Tank

Peter Bradshaw
In this film, Andrea Arnold has demonstrated her mastery and fluency in the social-realist idiom, and simply makes it fizz with life. Having now watched Fish Tank a second time, I am more exhilarated than ever by Arnold's idealism, and in a movie marketplace where so much is vapidly cynical, this is a mistral of fresh air. Arnold finds a way into the fashionable notion of a "Broken Britain", but in place of the pundits' dismay and contempt, she offers tenderness and hope. If Ken Loach were ever somehow called on constitutionally to nominate a successor, it would surely have to be Arnold. She's got the grit; she has Loach's humanism and optimism and she has a happy knack of getting great performances out of her cast, particularly from Michael Fassbender, who proves that he's not just sex on a stick – he's complexity and vulnerability on a stick as well. Added to this, Arnold and her cinematographer, Robbie Ryan, conjure some glorious, almost Turner-ish images of the Essex countryside, with its racing summer skies.

1. Fish Tank
2. Production year: 2009
3. Country: UK
4. Cert (UK): 15
5. Runtime: 124 mins
6. Directors: Andrea Arnold, Andrea Arnold
7. Cast: Harry Treadaway, Jason Maza, Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths

At the centre of the story is newcomer Katie Jarvis, playing Mia, a tricky, lairy 15-year-old in trouble with the social services for breaking a girl's nose after a contretemps in one of the windswept municipal canyons lying between tower blocks. She has inherited from her mum, played by Kierston Wareing, a stroppy insecurity and a nascent fondness for the booze. The family dog is actually called Tennent's. Mia has a feisty younger sister, Tyler – a scene-stealer of a performance from Rebecca Griffiths – who is always winding Mia up with shrill threats to "tell on her". There is no dad in the picture. Mia has just one interest in life: urban dance, and she isn't too bad, but the moves she practises are moody, introverted and subdued, rather like the dancer herself.

Their torpid lives are disrupted when Mia's mother miraculously gets a new boyfriend, Connor: and Fassbender gives his best performance yet. Connor is funny, sexy, confident and utterly relaxed where everyone else appears clenched with resentment. Noticeably articulate, Connor appears to come from a marginally more middle-class world and he is also, tellingly, a breadwinner. Mia rifles through his wallet while he's upstairs with her mum and instead of immediately nicking the cash, she gazes fascinated at his payslips: a man who actually works for a living. How many of those has she ever met?

Without consciously realising it, Mia is hoping that Connor could be a father-figure, and both sisters are secretly thrilled when he takes them all out for a drive in the country, and shows them how he can catch a fish with his bare hands. While her mother and sister cringe on the riverbank, Mia wades out into the cold, slimy water to help him and Tyler squeaks: "Is it minging?"

No, it is not minging. It is sensual and exciting, an exotic experience such as Mia has never known. And it marks the decisive point at which Connor and Mia's relationship drifts past being that of a quasi-father and daughter. Connor even takes an interest in her dancing, and casually lends her his expensive camcorder to tape an audition for a local competition, trusting that he will get it back. "You dance like a black," he tells her, with studied, flirtatious insolence. "I mean it as a compliment."

Mia has an enormous, poignant capacity for love, but she has never received any, certainly not from a damaged mother, whose one moment of intimacy with her daughter comes when she ferociously tells Mia that she was thinking of having her aborted. So she has no idea how to express or manage love and it is her muddled, suspicious longing for the safety and comfort of a father's care that makes the situation so explosive. As for Connor, it is far from clear how much baggage he has: he moves in to Mia's mum's flat because he says his own mother has thrown him out and often has to take calls from his "mum", but what is really going on? It becomes all too clear that if Mia has her own issues about family, then so does Connor – whose secrets are shabbier and more poisonous than either Mia or her mother could have realised.

The situation heralds an unwatchably tense finale as Mia's adoration turns into anger and then a determination to survive, to outgrow her surroundings, and to forgive. Arnold shows us that what makes the relationship between Mia and Connor so transgressive is not their obvious sexual attraction but their quite genuine, if thwarted and delusional longing to be father and daughter.

Jarvis has given a wonderfully honest and open performance to be compared with David Bradley in Kes, or Émilie Dequenne in the Dardenne brothers' Rosetta. Her relationship with Fassbender is what gives the film its beating heart.

Posted by julie schofield at 03:26
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:59 am

http://flickfeast.co.uk/reviews/film-reviews/fish-tank-2009/

Fish Tank (2009)
Film Reviews — By Natasha Saifolahi on September 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

Newcomer Katie Jarvis plays Mia, a loud mouthed, angry fifteen-year-old living with her alcoholic mother and younger sister in a council estate in Essex. Arnold tackles the issue of ‘Broken Britain’ sensitively and honestly without the overly emotional and dramatic nature that we see with Shane Meadows. The film holds a clear-eyed social realism window as the iconic, Ken Loach exhibits.

Filmed in a documentary style, the audience warms to Mia as the film progresses; we see the helplessness of her situation and begin to admire her loner status. Her world begins to get shaken up when her mother has a new boyfriend. Michael Fassbender plays Connor O’Riley, an intelligent and charismatic man who sparks a connection between Mia and himself.

On one hand, Mia has not known love all her life so when Connor begins giving her attention and positive encouragement; Mia is intrigued and tries to make sense of this. On the other hand, Connor himself is not the typical hero of the film, we learn he has a wife and child and his relations with Mia begin as a disillusioned father – daughter one.

At home, Mia’s little sitter watches American programs such as MTVs Cribs and Sweet Sixteen which is clearly a well thought out sequence to outline the problem with society. Whilst spoilt teens get bought huge parties and cars for their birthdays, Mia is desperately trying to live and make sense of love and purpose.

The good bye sequence between Mia and her mother towards the end of the film is the most interesting sequence – Mia’s mother is dancing to one of Mia’s cd’s, Mia approaches her and starts to mirror her dance movements, whilst they stare lovingly into each others eyes, Mia’s sister starts mirroring them too.

This mirroring can be interpreted as the mirroring of life styles. Is their hope for Mia’s future? Or will she too turn out to be like her mother? Unemployed and struggling with a drinking problem.

Whilst Mia packs her things up – Her sister cheekily asks her if she is going away to the ’special school’ to which Mia replies “Nah, you can have my place” initiating that her sister will grow up to be a troubled teen as she has. This brings the audience to understand these characters and how they see the world.

Jarvis gives the film extreme depth – She is certainly an actress to look out for in the very near future.

Director: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Rebecca Griffiths
Runtime: 123 min
Country: UK, Netherlands

Film Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:18 pm

http://sannekurz.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/life-is-a-bitch-and-than-you-die/

September 29, 2010...17:18
Life is a bitch and than you die.
44s

Independent Cinema. First appearance of Katie Jarvis, cast from the street after fighting with her boyfriend at a train station, quit school, unemployed, gave birth to her daughter Lily Mae four days before her movie premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. – British film Fish Tank.

Oh, now you should turn some music on, before you keep on reading. Find here Life is a Bitch. Final song of this film stuffed with music. Play it. Turn your speakers up loud!

“There’s a lot of life in a fish tank and it’s a small space” Andrea Arnold said in an interview during the Cannes festival, where she won the Jury Prize for this movie.

Telling the story of 15 year old Mia, Fish Tank made it on to German cinema screens only last week. I was lucky enough to catch the subtitled version. Even though there is not much talking…the film speaks often through its stunning 1:1,33 images shot on Fuji stock by Robbie Ryan and through lots and lots of music and dancing. Feels so very real. In the end, I sat crying again. But not coz i was unbearable. Coz it was oh so wunderbar.

It is one of those movies, where you leave the cinema in a cloud, all sounds enhanced, music playing loud from houses, cars zooming past much louder and with more of a whooosh on nightly streets than they normally would. I cycled past a poster on my way home. Goldfrapp is playing in Muffathalle next Monday. Go and see.

Find here an interview with Michael Fassbender about playing alongside Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank and hear his view on Andrea Arnold shooting chronologically and not revealing the script to her actors.

Here Andrea Arnold in the Cannes 2009 press conference about writing and finding this story.

Very stunning review article about the film to be found here (English).

And here a great interview with Andrea Arnold about images inspiring you in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on 23rd of September 2010 (German).

For those enjoying German dubbing you can find here what the German audience is tortured with.

Trailers for the audience out of Germany and those choosing the subtitled release in Germany:

Ah, and: Arnold’s next project will be an adaption of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. This novel has been adapted amongst others by William Wyler in ’39 (nominated for the Academy Awards same year), 1920 in the UK, in the 90ies with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche and early this century in Japan. Looking forward seeing Arnold’s version of the wuthering wilderness.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:40 pm

http://www.tokafi.com/news/fish-tank-angry-young-woman/

Fish Tank: Angry young Woman
flag October 6th 2010, by Tobias Fischer

She could kick everything with rage or lash out permanently: as far as 15-year old Mia is concerned, life is no bed of roses. Not at all, in fact. Growing up in a dreary suburb, freshly kicked out of school, she finds herself without a chance. Her mother is an underclass single-mom whose sole purpose in life seem to consist in leading short-lived relationships with varying men. So Mia shouts out her anger and frustration and fights with everyone – her little sister, her mother and the girls in the neighbourhood.

This is when two important things start happening in her life. First she finds out about a dancing contest at which she wants to participate in order to achieve something, and so she sets all her hope on it. The second is getting to know her mother's new lover Connor (Michael Fassbender, „Hunger“), who genuinely seems to be interested in and care for her and doesn't treat her like an annoyance or interference. For the first time in Mia's life, she experiences something similar to the kind of family life her mother was never able to provide her with. But there is more between Mia and Connor: The young woman finds herself attracted to him and there is undeniably some chemistry between the two.

Oscar-winning director Andrea Arnold („Wasp“) fully banks on her young leading actress Katie Jarvis with her new movie – a wise decision, as the young woman who was cast by Arnold on the street while fighting with her boyfriend, with her authentic, bold, but at the same time moving characterization of Mia genuinely makes a difference in „Fish Tank“. The camera follows Mia on every step she takes, watches and accompanies her ways through her dreary neighbourhood, but never comments or judges her actions. She messes with practically everyone, even if her opponents constitute a danger for her. She fights for what teenagers of probably all generations have fought for: freedom and self-determination. And for refusing to let others dictate what to do - neither her mother, nor teachers or social workers who want to bring her into some school for socially maladjusted teenagers.

Behind her anger, however, vulnerability always shines through. Only in her dancing and by rehearsing for the contest, Mia can act out her desire for freedom. Dancing, for her, represents a magic symbol for her wish for independence and freedom, and it's in those moments when the audience really gets close to her real personality, beneath her facade of outward coolness and toughness. In those moments, Mia acts out her deep yearning for an escape from her background and for an entire new life. But as angry as she is, she is not immune against feelings, and especially Connor fascinates her more and more, as he seems to the only one taking her hopes for the contest and her excitement about dancing really seriously. They get closer and closer, until they inevitably sleep with each other. But in the end, nothing is what it seems, neither with Connor nor with the dancing contest. Life doesn't make things quite that easy for Mia - so she stays angry and keeps fighting to find her own way.

With „Fish Tank“, Andrea Arnold succeeds in painting a social portrait about an underclass female adolescent in revolt. The result is neither a depressing movie about social misery in the suburbs nor is Mia presented as a working class heroine. She actually never manages to be 100% sympathetic for the audience, because, in her anger, she deals out blows against weaker and innocent people around her. But even in those scenes, Arnold draws her protagonists with great affection, she never cooks her goose. So one likes Mia, even when one doesn't condone her behaviour. Thanks to the lifelike and snotty portrayal by Katie Jarvis, Mia is always authentic and convincing in every minute of the movie. „Fish Tank“ show new British cinema at its best: featuring strong characters and realistic stories and social environments – regards from Ken Loach, and Arnold could quite rightly rake some award with her movie at several festivals, including among others the audience award at Cannes.

By Claudia Lindner

Original title: Fish Tank
Great Britain, 2009
124'
Director: Andrea Arnold
Director of Photography: Robbie Ryan
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffith, Charlotte Collins, Jason Maza, Harry Treadaway,
Music: Liz Gallacher
Production: Nick Laws, Kees Kasander, Christine Langan, David M. Thompson
Distribution: IFC Films
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:41 pm

http://www.videoice.com/movies/fish-tank-by-andrea-arnold/

Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold
Posted in Movies

At the sight of the short filmography of Andrea Arnold could be so grab some director of envy: Even her third short film “Wasp” won an Oscar, her first feature film “Red Road” was made as part of a proclaimed by Lars von Trier competition and won the award the jury at Cannes, and her latest film “Fish Tank” was awarded in Cannes and at the BAFTAs with prices. But although the British director and screenwriter has already garnered so many major film awards, it is in this country (yet) unknown. That will change after the start of “Fish Tank” hopefully.

“Life’s a bitch,” Nas raps on the soundtrack, a finding in line with the 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis). She just dropped out of school, with the girls from the block it anyway and stress with her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing), which was about as old as her daughter now, as she gave birth to them. The common language of the family that lives in a rundown housing estate in Essex, is marked by mutual contempt. Joanne shows little interest in the education of their daughters and does not care. Whether they hang out on the street or stay at home – the main thing they do not interfere with the mother at their parties. Mia’s dream is to write everything behind and to become a dancer. But she trains daily. Her mother as she tries to walk out of the way, until suddenly a man called Connor (Michael Fassbender, “Inglorious Basterds”) is in the kitchen and Mia’s life suddenly changes.

They say a commonplace in British culture there at all, only one topic, namely the class society. “Fish Tank”, is such a striking because Arnold does not show any stereotypes, but subtle images to find an authentic scenario acting accordingly. This is not want to affairs between nobles and their servants or miners’ children, dance the ballet, but for much more mundane problems. None of the characters is simply good or evil, each is drawn diverse. Above all, Mia, who is equally rebellious as vulnerable, violent and caring.
Arnold discovered the actress Katie Jarvis in the station at Tilbury, which is also seen in the film, as she just loudly argued with her boyfriend. The 19-year-old had no acting experience and plays a quasi “self” – and the film gives perhaps because such a large degree of authenticity. With her portrayal of Mia she pulls the audience immediately under her spell and binds the attention until the last minute. Michael Fassbender plays again Joanne’s friend Connor fascinatingly unpredictable, so you never know whether to trust him on the way, although he seems so likeable.

Arnold’s film reminds of the Dogme films, sometimes the handheld camera shakes considerably and the images are not always sharp. But the classic English docu-drama by Ken Loach has left its mark. Here we see no polite English speaking “Oxford English” as they maintain their already perfect lawn, but a poor environment of the present, from which there is seemingly no escape. Mia’s problems are commonplace, not exceptional, and that’s why the audience for a moment doubt that this story has happened in reality many times the same way.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:54 pm

http://brettrobison.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/fish-tank/

October 5, 2010
Fish Tank
Posted by Brett Robison under Uncategorized

8.5/10 stars

Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, a driving exposé of British realism, features a new star in untrained acting: Katie Jarvis—a young girl who plays a fifteen year old teenager shut out by her mother and the unfortunate state of affairs that consume those around her.

“I believe that good movies are a civilizing force. They allow us to empathize with those whose lives are different than our own. I like to say they open windows in our box of space and time.” –Roger Ebert

Fish Tank, a film both good and unrelenting in its unveiling of the lives of troubled individuals, is a shining example of the truth found in such words. What movies have the potential to do, among many other things, is to teach us and move us simultaneously. Most people reading this review will never experience the kind of existence that dictates the actions of its main character, Mia (Kate Jarvis). She lives in an Essex estate in an area saturated with people living at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. Mia’s mother, Joanne, is foul-mouthed party girl whose parenting abilities drift between marginal and non-existent. Mia’s actions, her frame of mind and her tendencies are to some extent unfortunate byproducts of Joanne’s incompetence, but we get the feeling that some of her qualities are prevented by her own stubbornness and inability to change. Or maybe it’s that she lacks the knowledge to change. The naivety and the immature qualities that have been forced upon her by a non-existent upbringing are doing her the disservice of presenting an unavoidable, inescapable short changing. Whatever the case, Mia’s life is troubled, and it only becomes more so after the introduction of Connor (Michael Fassbender) into her family’s life.

Connor is a man who enjoys the free loving, no-strings-attached approach that Joanne takes towards the concept of a relationship. It’s obvious that they’ve met at a bar, a party, or someplace similar to both. Like Joanne, he likes to party, to drink and to have fun. Unbeknown to Mia, a series of traumatizing, emotionally conflicting and confusing events are set into motion as soon as he arrives in their home. We first sense that something is amiss when Connor walks into the kitchen while Mia is dancing in her underwear, complimenting her and sending signals with disguised motive. From this point on, an awkward, unsettling tension surrounds the two whenever they’re together, and Connor’s motive remains elusive. The film revolves around this tension until an opportunity presents itself for Connor to confront Mia sexually, leading to a scene that both defines and dictates the outcome of her circumstance, as well as the feel of the final act of the film. Connor is an opportunist of sorts—he’s slyly manipulative and great at masking motive. We get the feeling that he’s done this before. He remains a guessing game until the act that sends the situation hurdling to its climax.

The scene in which Connor has sex with her is one of the best in the film. The technical brilliance of it creates a feel of building anticipation. Arnold shoots Jarvis’ face in close-up as a street lamp floods into the living room through the window behind her. Connor sits on the couch with an eerie look of misguided lust on his face, and the camera pans to him every few seconds to capture this state. They’re both drunk, and Connor has requested that she perform her audition for him for a local dance audition. Joanne is passed out drunk in her room. According to Mia, “she does that.” This is a verbal queue of affirmation for Connor, and he pounces on the opportunity. The next morning, he’s disappeared from the apartment, and Mia awakens to Joanne sobbing in her bedroom.

What happens next is a result of adolescent confusion and inexperience. Shaken by a chain of events that lie completely out of the realm of her control, Mia decides to track Connor down and confront him at his home. Mia can’t identify with or assess the whirlwind of emotion that she’s experiencing, and this becomes evident in her subsequent actions. What she finds after hunting him down is something that I think many viewers of the film expected. He has a wife, a daughter and a life completely separate from the one he shows to lead with Joanne and Mia. The redundancy of family life has prompted him to lead two mutually exclusive lives, but his choice to do so has caused unnecessary consequences and repercussions for an innocent, naïve and inexperienced young girl. In a series of knee-jerk, reactionary decisions, Mia breaks into the house and finds a video of his wife and daughter. Astounded, she decides to partake in a reactionary act of rebellion and urinates on his living room floor. What follows is another profound scene of the film. Connor returns home with his wife, Mia escapes from the back of the house then crouches behind a neighbors bush to watch what takes place in his driveway. As she sits in a frantic state of anger and confusion, Connor’s daughter comes strolling by on her scooter. An interesting dichotomy exists here: the little girl senses nothing out of the ordinary. She is partaking in her normal activities. For Mia, she’s thunderstruck. Her anxiety is overwhelmingly confounding.

Fish Tank is a great film because it works on two distinct levels. It’s a sociological dissection as well as an emotionally sound, slice of life drama. It’s a case study for what non-existent parenting does to those who fall victim to its unfortunate consequences. Mia remains a victim of her circumstance, so we can’t place all of the blame on her. Behavior is learned. Her mother curses profusely, drinks copiously and behaves irrationally. Mia acts the way she does because she sees her mother doing the same things. She isn’t old enough to know better. Or is she? I’ll let you decide for yourself. This is one of the many important questions the film brings to light. I don’t feel like it would be too far of a stretch to say that with five more years of “life” under her belt, she would have sniffed it all out. That point is moot, though. That wasn’t the kind of story Arnold wanted to tell. From a technical standpoint, Fish Tank is nearly flawless. It’s paced appropriately and filmed beautifully. While watching it we’re placed among people and surroundings that are much unlike our own. We view the circumstance of these people, expose ourselves to their actions, and we draw our own conclusions. Maybe we can empathize. If we don’t, then we come away from the film understanding what life is like for people that live differently than we do, whether we think their chosen way of life is the “right” or “wrong” way to live. 8.5/10 stars.

Side notes: Katie Jarvis is an untrained actress. In a way, her real life circumstance mirrors that of her character in the film. She was seen by a casting agent after Arnold had an argument with her boyfriend at the Tilbury Town railway station in Tilbury, Essex. Jarvis, who is now 19, gave birth to her son in May of 2009 at age 18. In 2009, Fish Tank won the Jury Prize at Cannes and a BAFTA for Best British Film.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:20 am

http://ihearttreasure.blogspot.com/2010/11/film-friday-1.html

WEEK ONE-FISH TANK (2009) Dir. Andrea Arnold

I know what you're thinking, another tough coming of age low budget film, but i assure you this film is so much more. It follows the life of a gobby, turbulent 15 year old Mia (Kate Jarvis), growing up on a council estate and how her life is turned upside down by the arrival and uncomfortable friendship formed with her mother's new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender). Mia's passion is to dance, and after being kicked out of school she is spurred on by Connor to apply for an advert looking for 'R'n'B dancers.' Will this finally be Mia's big break?

I was initially put off by the dance theme in this film. What comes to mind immediatley is gritty urban modern dance movies like 'Step up' which actually makes me shudder. But in fact, dance is one of many storylines running through this film. A lot of the focus is on the relationship with her mother (Kierston Wareing) and Connor. There is much symbolism used in this film too- mainly the old, injured horse chained up on an industrial estate which I think represents Mia's life; chained down by her lack of opportunities who eventually has to be put down when she turns 16 which has signifigance to Mia's coming of age- her old self is left behind when Connor leaves and she is left to move on and become a new person.

It's a social realist film, its not clichéd at all. It has sour outcomes, awkward silences and a whole lotta foul language. It shocks- especially the scene where you see Mia's younger sister with a friend drinking cider and smoking a cigarette whilst pointing fun at 'super sweet sixteen' but the reality is, it does happen.
If you enjoy social realist films, you will love this film. The ending is a little disappointing but apart from that, i would recommend this film 100%.

What do you guys think of this new feature? I feel like sometimes writing about just fashion is boring so I want to branch out to related areas like the media. I want to start writing more, about real stories and debates and that kind of thing too as at the moment its limited to a few words about what i bought blah blah blah. Well, hope you enjoyed it!

xxx
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:10 pm

http://downloadable-movies.us/blog/cannes_2009_fish_tank_for_andrea_arnold.html

Nov 27, 2010 Downloadable Movies Blog

This was one of the first films to launch the festival, and the last movie I saw too. In a very well done coming-of-age drama about a girl-15 years of living in slum-like conditions in England, Arnold gives us at least one of the best performances of the year, on top of a great storyThat title is so dark this time too, and not much to do with real history, but that does not mean she can not yet give us a look at his real talent as an author and film director. Andrea Arnold’s directorial debut was in 2007 with the Scottish indie film Red Road and she returns to Cannes this year with its monitoring Fish Tank.

The easiest way to fish in the tank is described with a simple synopsis, stay away from spoilers. When her mother (Kierston Wareing) brings home a new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender), everything changes for her. So when Connor enters his life, that raises a little joy in it and gives it a new sense of direction, or so I thinkIt is not the happy and carefree type brilliant story that you see in America, but it is a gritty look at a girl who has few passions in life and live every day to succeed. Mia (played by newcomer Katie Jarvis) lives with her mother and younger sister and has no friends, or at least none that you like.

What works so well is the bloody, gritty realistic way in which they occur, and above all, “Katie Jarvis spectacular performance. If Arnold had not discovered it, this would not have gone so far as it did, and Fish Tank owes much of its own success to Jarvis. She just presents it all as is and let the public get involved in itAs has been the trend in Cannes this year, Fish Tank is not perfect, has some flaws, but is one of the strongest features in the festival. At the same purpose, is a great story that does not have all the bells and whistles of a Hollywood entrance at the age of history, but not necessarily in need, and Arnold knows.

It really is a bad choice (you know what I’m talking about once you see the movie) should have had a far greater impact on her than he does and shakes around the audience unnecessarily. For example, near the end, Mia makes a decision on the fly incredibly irrational, but that choice really does nothing for her, good or bad. While most of the story moves along quite well, there are few elements that act as unnecessary bumps in the road. These are the types of defects found Fish Tank - minor infractions that pull the audience of the story without any real reason than that, potentially, add more drama

It’s definitely worth seekingIn general, Fish Tank is a great second effort by Andrea Arnold. Katie Jarvis will definitely get some further success and hope that most moviegoers will have a taste for history as well. It is not my favorite feature of the festival, by any means, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to catch it.
Cannes Rating: 8 out of 10
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:43 pm

http://4amterrors.blogspot.com/2010/11/fish-tank.html

Monday, November 29, 2010
Fish Tank

Fish Tank is a story through the eyes of Mia (Katie Jarvis), a 15 year old girl from the slums of Essex. Mia is living with her mother and her sister in a neighborhood infested with poverty. Her mother is jobless and an almost hopeless individual. However, her mother manages to find herself a decent and gentle boyfriend, Connor. In a way, he’s all that anyone could ever hope for. He treats the girls gently and their mother with respect.

Mia is aware of how trapped she is. She sees herself in all the animals bound by chains. On one occasion she tries to free a horse that’s bound inside private property. When she gets caught, the result is one of the most frightening scenarios imaginable. She is seized by two of the owners with an imminent threat of rape. They let her go after what seemed like ages of agony both to Mia and the viewers.

The film brilliantly portrays the complex relationship between Mia and Connor. For a great portion of the film it is unclear whether their relationship is paternal or erotic. The sexual tension is palpable in all of their scenes together, but since we see things through Mia’s eyes, we are unable to determine if his actions are sexual or if he is a fatherly character. That dynamic is a result of great performances and very well timed shots from director Andrea Arnold.

Michael Fassbender (300, Inglorious Basterds) plays Connor who maintains a fishy sort of goodness. His calmness and easiness is out of place in a stress ridden family and yet it seems to provide a much sought after tranquility. His confident presence in the family gives them a sense of serenity and comfort, yet Connor is too unhinged, too level-headed for a family whose members erupt to full blast at the slightest opportunity. His life seems mysterious but less so as Mia tries to invade it.

Perhaps one of the most reflective scenes of the dynamic between Connor and Mia’s family is when he takes them to a pond. With patience and gentleness catches a fish with his bare hands. As the fish is dying, gasping for air, he inserts a stick into its mouth through its body as this is the more humane thing to do.

The movie is captivating in showing a profoundly dire situation of poverty and a set of dysfunctional relationships that have formed in such a place. Mia seems to have a knack for severing good ties she has. Part of her doesn’t want to believe in any goodness that might be presented to her. She’s right to suspect everything, for in her world nothing can go right. Oddly enough after the harrowing threat of rape, she fearlessly returns to the scene to look for the bag she left behind.

The movie never ceases to show us the world through Mia’s eyes, taking its time to do so. There is something bleak about the outlook with which we are provided with for 122 minutes. We slowly uncover the reality of her world at her own pace. In the end we have a riveting story and we see is what it’s like to be a fish inside a tank.

Fish Tank won 18 awards including the BAFTA award for Outstanding British Film in 2010 and was nominated to win 15 more awards including the Golden Palm in Cannes.



Posted by Will E. at 10:04 AM
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:31 pm

http://deathbyfilm.blogspot.com/2010/12/300-fish-tank.html

Thursday, 16 December 2010
300: Fish Tank
Fish Tank is an interesting title in the latest edition of The 1001 Films To See Before You Die. It was to be expected that Avatar, Inglorious Basterds and Precious would be included due to the bundles of awards under their arms, their well-respected directors and the billions of dollars they took at the Box Office, but Fish Tank (only director Andrea Arnold's second film) has little reputation by comparison and is included in the book on its merits alone. Fish Tank focusses on the life of 15 year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), an aggressive, foul mouthed loner and her mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), all of whom become reinvigorated with the arrival Connor (Michael Fassbender), Mia's Mother's new boyfriend.

Fish Tank is a very interesting modern British Film, with a very heavy emphasis on British. Like many other offerings of recent years it focusses on life within a council estate and the effects of the education system and family life on young people. The theme of family runs straight through the film, it is questionable as to whether Mia has a family of any sort, her sister is abusive, her mother moreso. The only moments where a family dynamic seems established is when Fassbender's Connor appears and quickly assumes an encouraging fatherly role, albeit a little too quickly to be comfortable. Nothing remains constant in Mia's life, her mother's attitude towards her changes as quickly as the weather, her school is changing and her family too, though she rarely changes her greying hoodie.

Fish Tank rests on Katie Jarvis' portrayal of Mia, with no previous acting experience before Fish Tank (not even a bit part in Waterloo Road) Jarvis' performance is astonishing and vicious. It is perhaps telling that she was spotted by a talent scout in the very area the film is set, Jarvis acts like she knows every bleak detail of the neighbourhood, every crack in the pavement and every can by the roadside. Michael Fassbender's portrayal of Connor is equally profound, at no point does Connor's prescence ever feel comfortable, Connor is over-friendly to the point of being creepy, Fassbender can just flick a look in one direction and make you feel uneasy. Kierston Wareing and Rebecca Griffiths feel like secondary characters, but both of their frantic performances are not easily forgotton, Griffiths in particular makes Hit Girl look timid.

Fish Tank does not present any revolutionary new camera techniques, it does not change "the game" in any way or heave intolerable amounts of "grit" or "darkness" into the story which many British films have a tendency to do at the moment. What it does do is demonstrate the power of brilliant performances and an engaging script. One of the final, most heavy hitting moments of sadness comes when watching the credits which reads "With Thanks to the UK Film Council", a film such as Fish Tank demonstrates importance of this now redundant body in selecting and supporting the best British talent.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:27 pm

http://mrtsblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/fish-tank/

Fish Tank

Posted December 17, 2010 by mrtsblog in Uncategorized. Tagged: 15, abduction, acclaimed, acting, atmospheric, bafta, bare, beast, boyfriend, British, chemistry, children, cinema, Cinematographer, cliche, climax, conditioning, Connor, countryside, critically, dance, daughter, director, downtrodden, drama, edgy, equality, Escape, Essex, excluded, Fassbender, Fish, fishing, flat, gripping, gritty, gypsy, hands, hidden, horse, Hunger, Inglorious Basterds, irish, Jarvis, Kate, Katie, kids, life chances, metaphor, Mia, Michael, movie, mum, mythical, oscar, outstanding british film, perfect, Quentin, ragged, Real, Review, River, Robbie Ryan, rough, secrets, security guard, setting, sex, short, sister, Social, suburbia, superb, swearing, symbolic, Tank, Tarantino, teenage, tension, The Guardian, themes, thoughts, turbine, urban, violence, vista, Wasp, white, wind, winner, writer. Leave a Comment

Fish Tank is a gritty and real film, driven by its rough setting and well realised characters. It’s a critically acclaimed piece crafted by writer/director Andrea Arnold and centred on a knock-out debut performance from Katie Jarvis as foul mouthed fifteen year old Mia. She lives with her fierce and distant mother and her prematurely aged younger sister on a downtrodden, ragged estate. She drinks and wanders her days away, stomping with rage around the local area whilst she waits for others in an unknown system to decide her fate. She loiters near those her own age, only to end up violently and angrily confronting them most of the time. Spewing obscenities, wearing a permanent scowl and seeking vulgar distraction, Jarvis’ magnificent debut achievement is to subtly showcase Mia’s softer side.

Until the arrival of Hunger and Inglorious Basterd’s Michael Fassbender, Mia’s life consists purely of booze, slagging matches and dance. Dance appears to be her one true interest and she tentatively practices in a nearby abandoned flat, reluctant to display her slowly and shyly honed skills to others. The only other distraction from the confines of her miserable life is an almost mythical looking white horse, tethered by the dangerous boys at the local gypsy camp, with a revolving wind turbine dominating the roadside background. Mia tries, without success, to free the creature on several occasions. One time she lingers with the animal long enough to comfort it gently, patting its rising and falling frame, quietly seeking the warmth so lacking in her own life. It’s this scene that convinces you to root for Mia; she’s not really the mindless swearing teen on show most of the time. Beneath the beast conditioned by her environment lurks something better. Perhaps the essence of a childhood never lived.

So when Fassbender’s character Connor crashes onto the scene as her mum’s new man Mia understandably, after initial feisty reluctance, latches onto his fatherly encouragement. During a beautifully shot, moving trip to the countryside, she helps him catch a fish with his bare hands in the river. He compliments her dancing ability, urges her to go for a local audition. Despite his rough and readiness, his working man confidence, Connor appears to belong to a different, more caring world than Mia’s. A world where fifteen year old daughters have loving, concerned fathers. And yet a father figure is not all Mia wants. Connor excites her and their chemistry goes beyond caring. She pretends to be asleep one night so he carries her to her room. Does she want a lover or the dad she never had?

The film’s title, Fish Tank, is a symbol for Mia’s life. Watching this on DVD the picture was narrowed throughout, presumably a technique again designed to highlight the confinement of Mia’s existence. She is as helpless and ignorant as a fish in many ways, but through no fault of her own. Even her preferred route out, that of dancing, she has simply snatched at because she spends her time watching the same music videos and programmes on TV, selling a certain vision of womanhood and success. A lot of the film’s component parts appear to be cliché at first glance, but the quality of composition and relevance of the themes lifts the story above anything attempted before. Fassbender and Jarvis give mesmerising performances, sparking wonderfully off each other and being at once realistic and impossible to truly fathom. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan must be praised for making the bleak backdrop of the estate look simultaneously grim and stimulating and contrasting this with vivid countryside vistas, splendid British suburbia and striking establishers of trees sensually swaying in gusty winds.

The film builds to a dramatic and gripping climax, with Mia confronting her demons and her future. Whilst British cinema may be ridiculed now and then for being too dependent on this sort of film, if they are continually churned out they should all be as fresh and well made as Fish Tank, and the film is deserving of its Bafta for Outstanding British Film. As shoppers flock to HMV for Christmas DVD bargains, Fish Tank may be a little heavy for a festive present, but it is ultimately life affirming and should satisfy those who like their cinema edgy and critically adored. But it’s not for the faint hearted.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:18 pm

http://100towatch.blogspot.com/2010/12/film-45-fish-tank.html

20 Dec 2010
Film 45: Fish Tank
Dir: Andrea Arnold
Production: UK, 2009
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender
122mins

Mia (Katie Jarvis) is a mouthy, violate 15-year-old who lives with her mother and younger sister on a run down Essex council estate. Without any close friends and a mum who shows little interest in her, Mia shifts from one troubled incident to another. Her only form of escape from the hum-drum is hip-hop dancing in a disused flat within the adjacent block. All alone, Mia turns the music up loud, closes her eyes and attempts to perfect her dance technique.

Mia’s family life is further rocked by the arrival of her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender). Connor’s attempt to impress the two daughters doesn’t make an impact on Mia, but eventually their relationship grows, resulting in an act that pushes Connor away and Mia discovers Connors alternate life.

This superbly acted film is a must see for all grit-British film fans. Katie Jarvis had no acting experience and was cast for the film after one of Andrea Arnold's casting assistants saw her arguing with her boyfriend in Tilbury Town railway station, which is the station featured in the film.

The production of the film is surprising. At the end of each week the actors were given the scripts for the scenes that they would perform the following week so that when they performed each scene they were largely unaware of what would happen to their characters later in the film.

This highly recommended film won a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film and the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2009.

Alt. Review: Empire
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:00 am

http://flickeringmyth.blogspot.com/2010/12/british-cinema-fish-tank-2009.html

British Cinema: Fish Tank (2009)
Fish Tank, 2009.

Directed by Andrea Arnold.
Starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing and Rebecca Griffiths.

Fish Tank
SYNOPSIS:

A 15 year old girl's life is turned on its head when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Fish Tank
Fish Tank is a gritty and real film, driven by its rough setting and well realised characters. It’s a critically acclaimed piece crafted by writer/director Andrea Arnold and centred on a knock-out debut performance from Katie Jarvis as foul mouthed fifteen year old Mia. She lives with her fierce and distant mother and her prematurely aged younger sister on a downtrodden, ragged estate. She drinks and wanders her days away, stomping with rage around the local area whilst she waits for others in an unknown system to decide her fate. She loiters near those her own age, only to end up violently and angrily confronting them most of the time. Spewing obscenities, wearing a permanent scowl and seeking vulgar distraction, Jarvis’ magnificent debut achievement is to subtly showcase Mia’s softer side.

Until the arrival of Hunger and Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender, Mia’s life consists purely of booze, slagging matches and dance. Dance appears to be her one true interest and she tentatively practices in a nearby abandoned flat, reluctant to display her slowly and shyly honed skills to others. The only other distraction from the confines of her miserable life is an almost mythical looking white horse, tethered by the dangerous boys at the local gypsy camp, with a revolving wind turbine dominating the roadside background. Mia tries, without success, to free the creature on several occasions. One time she lingers with the animal long enough to comfort it gently, patting its rising and falling frame, quietly seeking the warmth so lacking in her own life. It’s this scene that convinces you to root for Mia; she’s not really the mindless swearing teen on show most of the time. Beneath the beast conditioned by her environment lurks something better. Perhaps the essence of a childhood never lived.

So when Fassbender’s character Connor crashes onto the scene as her mum’s new man Mia understandably, after initial feisty reluctance, latches onto his fatherly encouragement. During a beautifully shot, moving trip to the countryside, she helps him catch a fish with his bare hands in the river. He compliments her dancing ability, urges her to go for a local audition. Despite his rough and readiness, his working man confidence, Connor appears to belong to a different, more caring world than Mia’s. A world where fifteen year old daughters have loving, concerned fathers. And yet a father figure is not all Mia wants. Connor excites her and their chemistry goes beyond caring. She pretends to be asleep one night so he carries her to her room. Does she want a lover or the dad she never had?

The film’s title, Fish Tank, is a symbol for Mia’s life. Watching this on DVD the picture was narrowed throughout, presumably a technique again designed to highlight the confinement of Mia’s existence. She is as helpless and ignorant as a fish in many ways, but through no fault of her own. Even her preferred route out, that of dancing, she has simply snatched at because she spends her time watching the same music videos and programmes on TV, selling a certain vision of womanhood and success. A lot of the film’s component parts appear to be cliché at first glance, but the quality of composition and relevance of the themes lifts the story above anything attempted before. Fassbender and Jarvis give mesmerising performances, sparking wonderfully off each other and being at once realistic and impossible to truly fathom. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan must be praised for making the bleak backdrop of the estate look simultaneously grim and stimulating and contrasting this with vivid countryside vistas, splendid British suburbia and striking establishers of trees sensually swaying in gusty winds.

The film builds to a dramatic and gripping climax, with Mia confronting her demons and her future. Whilst British cinema may be ridiculed now and then for being too dependent on this sort of film, if they are continually churned out they should all be as fresh and well made as Fish Tank, and the film is deserving of its BAFTA for Outstanding British Film. As shoppers flock to HMV for Christmas DVD bargains, Fish Tank may be a little heavy for a festive present, but it is ultimately life affirming and should satisfy those who like their cinema edgy and critically adored. But it’s not for the faint hearted.

Liam Trim
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