- Director:Andrea Arnold
- Cast:Sarah Bayes, Rebecca Griffiths, Katie Jarvis
- Release Date:May 27, 2010
- Running time:123 minutes
- Film Worth:$12.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
A well shot and uniformly well acted film which draws the audience in by an increasingly tense and dramatic narrative.
As kitchen-sink realists have been reminding us since the sixties, life on English council
estates can be very bleak indeed. The one in Essex where fifteen-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) lives is no exception, and the grimness is compounded by her lack of friends and the combative atmosphere at home. In a trope that stops just the right side of cliche, she seems to identify with a horse that's tied up in a nearby field. Mia's mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), regularly drinks herself insensible, and resents the presence of her daughters - Mia and her tough-talking little sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) - if not their very existence.
This is the premise for writer-director Andrea Arnold's (who previously helmed the eye catching indie drama Red Road) melancholy story. The bitter and frustrated Mia dreams of becoming a break dancing star, but thankfully this is not a trite sub-Billy Elliot redemption saga. Life becomes a good deal less cheerless for Joanne - and potentially so for the kids as well - when she hooks up with charming and affable Irish security guard Connor (Michael Fassbender, from Hunger and Inglourious Basterds).
What follows is a sustained exercise in escalating sexual tension. Given the expletive-sodden brusqueness and intensity of everyone's conversation, it's also a reasonably subtle one, with wariness and attraction constantly jostling for supremacy.
Fish Tank is well shot and uniformly well acted, but especially so by Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender. It definitely gets us in, and becomes inexorably more tense and dramatic as it progresses. There are moments of particular hypnotic power towards the end, and they somehow mirror the rhythmic tone of the film's hip hop and soul music. It's not quite unmissable, but Fish Tank is certainly recommended.