7 February 2010

Fish and Chips

Fish Tank - Andrea Arnold

The first feature length film from Andrea Arnold, and the style and technique seen in her award winning short Wasp is evident. The realistic characters in real settings, living the life of which many people are living right now, it tells the story of a teenage girl struggling to fit in, and using dance as a form of release. Along the way she has fights, Mother issues and of course, stealing said mothers’ new boyfriend. It’s a common occurrence in these types of families. I was surprised not to see an appearance of Danny Dyer in the background. But if they would have cast Dyer in the lead male role, the film would be very different. Michael Fassbender, recognised as the Englishman in Inglorious Basterds, is brilliant here. Shows his true acting chops by pulling this film about chav culture into a heart warming tale of growing up and not always rebelling. He plays the character well giving him a personality of sliminess and general affection for children, and his pushing for their future and career, especially the lead character Mia, played by first time actor Katie Jarvis.

At times in the film, Jarvis plays the role to perfection, capturing that teen angst where she quickly switches from enjoying her time to hating every person in sight, but after a little while, it runs thin, and becomes boring. We all know teenagers can sometimes be emotional swings, but not everyone is like this. Some of her characteristics annoyed me, like her random drinking at ridiculous hours of the day. Seriously, i never did that. The relationship between her and her gobby, smoking little sister was not much of great value because the little sister got to swear and shout a lot. It’s annoying after a little while, but the film does have some touching and funny scenes. It has a mix of both of heartbreak and tenderness wrapped around a working class family, living in a shithole, where dance and relationships seems to be the only release. It’s different to most of the British cinema kitchen sink dramas like Danny Boyle or Shane Meadows films because of its unique style. Harking back to classic British films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, it does show the stereotypical working class family, the drinking, smoking and fighting lifestyle but it gives these characters quirks that have not been seen or used before. It’s a great little British film but hopefully in the DVD release, will get a massive push and sales and people will get to see Andrea Arnold in action.


Simon Childs

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