Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadaway, Sidney Mary Nash, Sarah Bayes
The life of Mia (Katie Jarvis), an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, chances as she begins an uneasy friendship with her mother's (Kierston Wareing) boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).
I'm not going to lie, this film ended up on my watchlist a long time ago because of Michael Fassbender. Then it popped out here, the story sounded quite interesting and I decided to watch it, but it was a bit of a disappointment.
Uncomfortably realistic and with the potential to be a great coming-of-age flick, "Fish Tank" unfortunately never really takes off.
What I liked about the film is that the familiar storyline unravels into a quite original story that allows us to witness the growth of the character, this angry 15-year-old girl, and how well Andrea Arnold avoided the kitchen-sink drama, excessive violence, pregnancies and all the other clichés of the genre. Also I did appreciate the lack of an uplifting message.
The problem with that is the execution. The film is just too slow - it could have easily been 30 minutes shorter and the story would have lost nothing - and the first part, even though the film started off pretty good, turned out to be nothing but a tedious picture of a girl walking around, swearing at people, and trying to dance. A little of that would have done amazing to get us to know the character better, but enough is enough.
Another flaw is the role dance has in the story. I was really expecting it to have a more important role than just being a way to lengthen the film with endless dancing sequences.
However, Andrea Arnold sure is interested in giving genuine portrayal of real life, and she shows that through a quite good character study - the hand-held camera gives the film a more intimate feeling -, and she does a good job directing the cast, especially Katie Jarvis who, according to Arnold herself, just played herself.