Little Fish

"Very Good"

Little Fish Review


Films about drugs and recovery are usually of two schools. Either they're about the comic situations that arise from discovering yourself underneath a drug haze or they're hard-nosed films about a family bonding in the face of getting over the addiction. These films vary in worth to the viewer, but rarely do they slip between those two categories. So, Rowan Woods' Little Fish sorta blindsided me in its direct dealings with the struggle to keep clean, seasoned with crime spices. Some might group it in the latter group, but there's something else going on here.

Tracy (Cate Blanchett) works as an assistant manager in a small video-rental store in Sydney, Australia. She is recovering from a heroin addiction and trying to get money together to co-open a computer-gaming center with her boss. She lives with her mom and every once-in-awhile, looks in on her father figure, Lionel (Hugo Weaving). On his birthday, her brother (Martin Henderson) brings back Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), her old flame when she was using. He claims to be going straight and things begin to bubble again. This is interrupted by the fact that both Lionel and Tracy's brother are in business (and in Lionel's case, a sexual relationship) with Bradley (Sam Neill, complete menace), a ruthless drug dealer who is trying to retire. Tracy's hold on sobriety is tested to unfathomable lengths, and her trust in both brother and John is shaken to the core.

There aren't any real tricks to Little Fish. The film is blunt in its honesty, which may cause some people to misread it as boring. It will no doubt test some viewers' patience, but the key to the film's magic is in that spare nature, dissected visually by ace cinematographer Danny Ruhlman. The use of flares and the mix of hand-held and lingering Steadicam work (not completely unlike 21 Grams, without the graininess) give a sensuality and mystery to Sydney's Little Saigon district. Woods doesn't interweave stories but rather lays them out as being connected right from the start, taking away any hint of trickery.

More so, you couldn't ask for better actors. Blanchett, one of the best actresses working today, follows up her turn as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator with a much more subtle and measured performance that permeates throughout the film. Prepared to be floored by Weaving (you might know him as Agent Smith, Mr. Anderson). This Aussie fireball of an actor fills the screen with a hypnotic presence, whether he's trying to fight off an addiction or reminiscing with Bradley about their early days. There's also Noni Hazlehurst, who brings deep reserves of pain and regret to Tracy's mom. This is powerhouse acting, all around.

The fatal flaw of Little Fish is that this is, sadly, ground that has been treaded on before, quite often in fact. Woods is a talented director and somehow makes the honesty of the film feel surreal, somewhat like floating in limbo, but he doesn't have the foresight (or the screenplay) to go any farther than the normal pitfalls and promises of addicts and recoveries. It's not the worst thing for a young director to just hone his style on a small mood piece. There are always bigger fish to fry.



Little Fish

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th September 2005

Distributed by: First Look Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rowan Woods

Producer: Richard Keddie, Vincent Sheehan, Liz Watts

Starring: as Tracy, as The Jockey, as Lionel, as Ray, Noni Hazlehurst as Janelle, as Moss, as Jenny, as Jonny, Lisa McCune as Laura, Nina Liu as Mai, Daniela Farinacci as Donna, as Denise, as Khiem, Anh Do as Tran, Jason Chong as Mingh, Natasha Beaumont as Tania, Bic Runga as Night Club Singer, Lisa Bailey as Suzy, Lan Tran as June, as Mr. Chan

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

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.