Fish Tank (2010)

Fish Tank is a British independent film that I have only heard about when it was nominated for a couple of British Independent Film Award nominations and two for the writer/director, Andrea Arnold and a Newcomer Award for lead actress, Katie Jarvis. I wanted to see what this movie was about. I head that the movie was showing IFC On-Demand. Why not check it out? This movie for me was like a combination of Lolita, Fatal Attraction, Honey and Towelhead. I only like one of those films. Guess which one?

Mia Williams (Jarvis) is a fifteen-year-old delinquent living in a shabby flat in Essex, England. She is a loner that watches the world passes her by. She is always wearing a track suit with her ear buds pumping out Hip-Hop or R&B music so she could break dance in an empty flat that she breaks into. She is running wild, skipping school, drinking, and stealing money. She has a lot of internal anger towards her alcoholic mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing) for not supervising her or her younger sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) that is heading down the same path.

One morning when she is making her morning tea, Mia meets her mom’s new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender) when she was shaking her ass to a Ja Rule/Ashanti video. She kinda fancies him as well. Who wouldn’t? He was topless her kitchen with his pants hanging low on his hips. They have a verbal sparring match. When Connor takes a cup of tea to her mother, she rifles through his wallet to learn more about the latest man that her mother is banging.

It is a recurring theme that when her mother was to get wasted with her friends that the children have to be out of sight. Being holed up in Mia’s room, the girls still have the time to sneak out a half-drunk bottle gin or have a carton of cigarette to puff away. Rifling through her mother’s room, Mia falls asleep while drinking gin and is carried into her room by Connor who thinks that she is asleep undresses her. She kinda likes that.

Connor wants to invite the girls on a family drive to a local marsh to catch a fish with his bare hands. Mia tries to help him and she is cut. Connor bandages her up. When they are back at the car, the mother wants to get more drinks when Connor asks Mia to do the dance she did earlier. She does a break dance routine. Her mother wants Mia to enroll at a special school. She is not having any of it. She runs away. Walking the streets, she sees a flyer for a club seeking young modern dancers. She tries to get inspiration from other break dancers on YouTube.

She walks around the town and bumps into Connor at his security job at a home improvement store. When he fixes up her wound with a first aid kit, when Mia hands him the piece of paper about the audition. He wants her to do it. When suddenly crashes at their place for a couple of days, he lends Mia his digital recorder to film her demo. When they are living under the same roof, things get complicated and Mia’s life goes into a tailspin.

I didn’t know what to take of this movie. I thought his was the female version of Billy Elliot for awhile, but it wasn’t. It was a coming-of-age of a girl that didn’t belong in this particular place. Some of the stuff that happened to Mia was understandable until at the very end of the movie that had me scratching my mind and made me wait to reach into the screen and choke Mia. I will discuss that in the spoiler section. The movie was about the out-of-control girl that had a talent of dance. I didn’t think she was the greatest dancer. It made the movie feel false.

Judgment: This is a tough pill to swallow.

Rating: **1/2


The moment where the movie lost me was after Mia had sex with Connor. He leaves suddenly. Mia tracks him down to Tillbury where she found out that he is married with a kid, Keira. She drinks a beer and pisses on the living room carpet. When they come home, Mia tries to kidnap Keira. Keira runs away to a seahorse where Mia wants to get her in line. Keira begin to kick and Mia throws her into the water. Mia gets her out and hugs her. They go back to his house later that night and releases her. Walking along the road, Connor drives by her and chases after her. When he catches up to her, he bitch slaps her and walks way. That’s it! I would kill that bitch! From that moment on, I didn’t care what happened to her. I checked out.


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on February 17, 2010, in 2010, Crime, Drama, Independent and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Glad I passed on this then, insightful.

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