Fish Tank

"Extraordinary"

Fish Tank Review


Andrea Arnold takes a confident step forward with the follow-up to her acclaimed debut Red Road. This is an almost unnervingly naturalistic look at a teen's life, anchored by a fierce central performance.

Mia (Jarvis) is 15 and lives in a council flat with her peroxide-blonde mum Joanne (Wareing) and her sharp-tongued little sister Tyler (Griffiths). Her only interest is in dance, and she's preparing for an audition that she hopes will get her out of her grim Essex life. In the meantime, she finds herself intrigued by Joanne's latest boyfriend, Connor (Fassbender), although she's not sure if it's as a father figure or something else entirely. And she also decides to free an old horse owned by a neighbour (Treadaway).

Besides the horse metaphor and one gratuitous floating balloon shot, Arnold keeps the film grounded in gritty realism, drawing performances that feel so raw and open that no one appears to be acting. At the centre, Jarvis is revelatory, combining anger with hope in a way we rarely see in teen characters. She lets us see past Mia's bravado to what she's thinking, and what we see is complicated and provocative. Opposite her, Fassbender is also excellent, exuding an intoxicating blend of sexuality and parental concern. And Griffiths offers a sardonic comical counterpoint to each scene ("I like you; I'll kill you last").

Robbie Ryan's crisp cinematography combines with Arnold's skilful direction to get us on Mia's side from the start; we experience every scene from her limited perspective, including telling glances and tiny observational details.

Seemingly innocent events bristle with sensuous longing and a foreshadowing of what might come next. This point of view gives the scenes with Fassbender an outrageous charge that's seductive, sweet and more than a little scary.

And a more overtly frightening scene later on is so intense that we're unable to breathe. We have no idea which direction it will go and feel as off-balance as the characters when things take such an unexpected turn. But even this dark dramatic sequence is beautifully balanced by brittle comedy. Arnold's filmmaking has a sharp intelligence that's reminiscent of the Dardenne brothers, but the difference is that she's not merely observing this girl's life: she's letting us feel what it is to be her.



Fish Tank

Facts and Figures

Run time: 123 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th September 2009

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Budget: $3M

Distributed by: IFC

Production compaines: BBC Films, UK Film Council, ContentFilm, Kasander Film Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 128 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrea Arnold

Producer: , Nick Laws

Starring: as Mia Williams, as Connor O'Reily, as Joanne, as Tyler Williams, as Billy, Sarah Bayes as Keeley, Grant Wild as Keeleys Dad, Sydney Mary Nash as Keira, Carrie-Ann Savill as Tyler's Friend, Toyin Ogidi as Tyler's Friend, Charlotte Collins as Tall Dancing Girl, Kirsty Smith as Dancing Girl, Chelsea Chase as Dancing Girl, Brooke Hobby as Dancing Girl, as Billy's Brother

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.