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Fish Tank

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  1. Spunkster says:

    Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank Tilbury Town railroad station, Tilbury, Essex, England – a common event unfolds on the train platform. A young woman is arguing with her boyfriend. But what seems like a natural occurrence to the naked eye is a turning point in nineteen-year-old Katie Jarvis’s life, as an Oscar®-winning director, Andrea Arnold, was watching the argument unfold from across the train platform. And thus begins the story of Fish Tank, a gritty and gripping 2009 drama, set in England, directed by Andrea Arnold. Katie Jarvis, the volatile and angry girlfriend on the platform, stars as Mia Williams, a fifteen-year-old binge drinking high-school dropout, living in a small tenement with her single mother Joanne, played by the British Independent Film Award nominee Kierston Waering, and her younger sister Tyler, played by Rebecca Griffiths. Mia is an expelled student, a volatile adolescent, and a passionate street dancer. After a day of picking fights with fellow street-dancing females, illegally purchasing alcohol from street dealers, avoiding a conference with a secondary school representative and trying to rescue a white horse from a seemingly abandoned lot, the teenager returns home to find that her mother has brought home a young man, Connor, played by Hunger’s Michael Fassbender. Connor is a seemingly nice man, who takes Mia, Joanne and Tyler on a family drive to go fishing at a secluded pond. But Connor is sheltered beneath a shell that hides the man’s true colors, as his eyes are not focused on Mia’s drinking, smoking, abusive mother – they are focused on Mia.The style in which Fish Tank is filmed resembles that of Christian Mungiu’s 4 luni, 3 sãptãmâni ºi 2 zile (known in English by 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days), in that what is being filmed is almost a documentary. The camera shakes when Mia is attacked by three tough boys when trying to rescue the white horse. The camera shakes when Mia chases after Connor’s car after he walks out on her mother, and as Mia flees from the clutches of the three thugs in the lot. A handheld camera is used for scenes when Mia is in the abandoned apartment, practicing her hip-hop dancing to Ja Rule and Nas. The brilliant and engaging “new” camera style enables the audience to engage more sufficiently in Mia’s life as she lives it.Rarely do I ever close my eyes in films, and rarely do I have to reach over and hold the hand of whomever is sitting next to me in the theatre, whether it be my mother, father, sister, or that woman sitting next to me who keeps chatting with her girlfriend, but Fish Tank and Katie Jarvis’s exhilarating, awe-inspiring, heartbreaking performance made me do both. Her role pins you to your seat from the very first scene to the very last moments, which has been seen once before this year in a young newcomer’s performance in a motion picture – Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. In fact, Fish Tank has been referred to as Britain’s Precious, two motion pictures with hauntingly similar yet eerily different plotlines – a high-school dropout, living in a bad area, with an abusive parent and troubled lives. Like Sidibe, the debutante Katie Jarvis outshines and upstages veteran actors such as Michael Fassbender and Kierston Waering, and offers an authentic and breathtaking role in an unfortunately relatable part.Fish Tank: Directed by Andrea Arnold. Starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Waering, Rebecca Griffiths and Harry Treadaway.

  2. K. Harris "Film aficionado" says:

    Terrific Lead Performances Bolster This Powerful Tale Of Rebellion And Yearning In many ways, I expected to like Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank”–another working class British drama exploring a disaffected and rebellious teen. But the film rather exceeded my expectations in all ways. It can be an incredibly hard edged presentation but it is also surprisingly hopeful–and this balance is impeccably wrought. Front and center is lead Katie Jarvis and the picture sinks or swims on your investment in this young, tough, unpleasant, wild, and lawless creation. You might instantly be turned off by the in-you-face Jarvis, but “Fish Tank” is deftly able to peel away her hardened exterior to reveal the tortured soul yearning for love and acceptance. Don’t be mistaken, however, that this is going to be a heart warming story of redemption once you see some softer shadings. No, this incredibly real story maintains an integrity throughout and doesn’t attempt to provide quick psychological or sociological answers leading to happily ever after.Jarvis, as I said, takes center stage throughout. Independent and confrontational, Jarvis lives with her mother and younger sister. As you might expect, there is a constant battle at home where her mother seeks refuge in alcohol and attempts to relieve her loneliness through random sexual encounters. The bulk of the story begins when momma’s new beau (Michael Fassbender) enters the picture. Initially wary of the sexy new stranger, Jarvis becomes increasingly intrigued as he seems to be more than a one night stand. Alternately hostile and accepting, it is supremely difficult for her to let her guard down. But her racing and conflicted emotions propel her closer to Fassbender. It is an astute portrayal (perhaps one of the better representations of warring emotions of late) that has Jarvis infatuated with her mom’s suitor. She is sexually attracted to him, sees him in a paternal light, and sees him as a respectful friend and equal. He stirs up so much uncertainty, however, it does cause Jarvis to reexamine how she’s leading her life.The film doesn’t shy away from some rather unpleasant plot developments. When Jarvis feels betrayed, in fact, the film possess the power to shock as she is pushed beyond all reasonable boundaries. This is truly a magnetic performance of fire and honesty and I expect we’ll be seeing much more of Katie Jarvis. I have sung the praises of Michael Fassbender in several other films (and I like the way his career is going–balancing small indies with big blockbusters), but he is absolutely crucial here. So captivating and winning, with a quiet despair just under the surface, it’s easy to see how he could bewitch the standoffish Jarvis. A picture of enormous power, “Fish Tank” is a truly unique and great entry into the ever growing alienated teen genre. Smart and successful, an easy recommendation. KGHarris, 3/11.

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