15 January 2010 4:07 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Fish Tank

DVD, Artificial Eye

Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank is very much in the UK's lineage of social realist dramas. As with the works of Tony Richardson, through Ken Loach and Alan Clarke, Fish Tank presents, or rather captures, the world warts and all – even going as far as being filmed in the more TV-like aspect ratio of 1.33:1 to avoid any accidental glamour that widescreen might have delivered. The situations here are familiar to any follower of kitchen-sink drama but the settings and language have been updated, and it's in these details that Arnold really shows her talent. Mia (Katie Jarvis) is an argumentative and bored Essex teenager who dreams of becoming a dancer – her lonely practice sessions in a vacant council flat are her only real moments of calm. It's easy to see why she's so aggressive, with her limited opportunities and her single mother constantly chipping away at her. »

- Phelim O'Neill

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