Thursday, 27 September 2012

Fish Tank (2009) - ★★★★

Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing

This is a brilliant film. Its brutally honest realism sets it apart from most movies about troubled youth, which is achieved through what seems like effortless and meticulous acting, and an everyday girl's story in the suburbs of England just trying to get by. If they said it was based on a true story, I wouldn't blink.

Katie Jarvis plays the lead character, fifteen year-old Mia. The director discovered her when he saw her fighting with her boyfriend at a train station. Man oh man did he make the right choice in choosing her to play Mia. 

Mia is an angry, resentful and vulnerable teen that goes about her day either looking for a fight or for booze. It's not hard to see why when you see the mother (Koerston Wareing) who is an uncaring, boozy and irresponsible parent that clearly has no interest in raising kids. Mia's little sister is perhaps neglected the most, with no affection from either her mother or her older sister, which has turned her resentful also. Their lives take a strange turn when Conner (Michael Fassbender) joins the family as the mothers new boyfriend. He's nice, caring, and extremely handsome, which naturally draws Mia to develop a crush on him. The film has its sweet moments and its horrifying moments, mainly filled with an air of suspense for what will happen next.

The thing I liked most about this film is the way it clearly displayed the emotions of Mia. Jarvis did a great job in displaying the inner turmoil on her face and showing the vulnerability in Mia, even though she presented an angry exterior. You could really feel for her, because of the way she was raised and the hole she's stuck in with what seems like no way of escaping. At the beginning of the film you wonder why she's a bitch that drinks, smokes and fights people. The genius of Fish Tank is that it's self explanatory once you meet the mother, who clearly screwed Mia up as a child. You can also see good in Mia, for she sees a sick horse chained up over a fence and tries to feed and free it so that it may have a chance to live.

In the end, you're left wondering whether she will be ok or not. I think she will be. If I've learnt anything about Mia while watching Fish Tank, it's that she's a fighter and will do whatever it takes to get on her feet. This film is a testament to how parents are usually the root of the destruction of their children.

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