Subtle brilliance! I had the pleasure of watching Fish Tank, written and directed by Andrea Arnold, last night and I'm so glad I did. First off British movies are almost always portrayed in a more realistic and almost gritty kind of way. It reflects the way the world really is apposed to the dream reality created for teens and adults in a lot of American movies. I read numerous reviews of the movie before I saw it some said it was too "gritty and depressing" while others saw it as boring and "not dark enough" while I found it fell nicely between the two.
The movie is about a 15 year old girl named Mia, her mom's a young self-obsessed lush more concerned with parties and men than her kids. Mia is bitchy, angry and feels alone, she drinks and dances her pain away in an abandoned flat as her only way of escaping her reality. You start off loathing the two female leads but when Mia comes across an old horse that's sickly and chained near a trailer she softens the tiniest bit and tries to break the chains to set it free. (This is the whole point of the movie in that Mia herself feels like a tortured and chained horse bitter and stuck in a bad situation that just wants to be free or like a fish trapt in a fish tank staring out at a world she can't touch.)
As the movie progresses Mia's mom brings home a new boyfriend and there is instant sexual tension between the two. Her moms new boyfriend serves as a positive influence of sorts at first, encouraging Mia to believe in herself and to pursue her dancing. But when their relationship crosses the line which was inevitable it changes everything and sets Mia off towards a serious emotion breakdown that takes her down an even darker path than what she started out on, but she isn't the monster or bitch that you think.
You start to slowly unwind the characters cores and you see Mia as more than just a pissed off teenager. She's not nearly as tuff on the inside as she is on the outside and she's not a bitch she's just a product of her enviorment. Even the mother you feel for in the end, she's not a good mother by any means but you see her cracking as well and you see a girl, not a mother just a tuff little girl choking and drowning in the reality she created.
The boyfriend Conner played by Michael Fassbender didn't come off as a predator or a creep more like a boy who can't help himself even though he tries, he avoids responsibility and runs from his problems to avoid the consequences. In fact all the grown ups in this movie come off more as lost little kids, while the actual lost kids in the movies are forced to take on grown up roles. I could go on and on about how amazing this movie is. It's beautifully filmed and the acting is nothing like acting it's all incredibly real feeling. The bright shining star of the movie is Katie Jarvis who plays Mia. In her first shot at acting she comes off as an old pro and I hope she has a long acting career ahead of her because I'll never forget her performance in this movie!