Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths
Directed by: Andrea Arnold
Synopsis: Everything changes for fifteen-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.
This film, a critics favourite five years ago, could well be the definition of a ‘kitchen-sink’ drama. If it was set in America it would be in the projects, in Brazil it would be the favelas and India the slums. It is a slice of real life on the council estates up and down England, in the same way that Harry Brown was. Which is to say, I’m sure such events aren’t commonplace but not overly dramatised.
The film follows Mia (Jarvis), the daughter of a single mother growing up in a council flat. She is angry at the world and everyone around her. Like most kids in that situation she drinks to escape her lack of self esteem and the feeling of being unloved. Her great passion is dancing. Her aimless life however, is intterupted when she encounters her mums new boyfriend Connor (Fassbender). He seems like a nice guy, and is clearly a bit of a flirt, sending mixed signals to the impressionable teen.
Fish Tank is a superb drama, not for the feint hearted. The language is strong and the all around air of violence is never far away. Not that it breaks out in to much, it just comes across as intimidating. More so for the English viewer, to whom it will feel all to real in parts.
Michael Fassbender is brilliant as usual, in what was a breakout role for him. The main acclaim should be reserved for Katie Jarvis in the lead role though. The story goes that she was cast after the producers saw her having an argument with her boyfriend at a train station. It’s her first acting gig, and looking at her IMDb page, her last to date. Praise also for her little sister in the film, played by Rebecca Griffiths, who had me in stitches with her foul mouth.
A fantastic working class British film to add to the likes of Kes, Nil by Mouth and Trainspotting before it.