Jackie works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again, a man she never wanted to see again. Now she has no choice, she is compelled to confront him.
Zoë is a single mother who lives with her four children in Dartford. She is poor and can't afford to buy food. One day her ex-boyfriend drives by and asks her to go on a date with him. ... See full summary »
Mia, an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, lives on an Essex estate with her tarty mother, Joanne, and precocious little sister Tyler. She has been thrown out of school and is awaiting admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She begins an uneasy friendship with Joanne's slick boyfriend, Connor, who encourages her one interest, dancing. Written by
don @ minifie-1
The film was shot chronologically, and the actors were shown only the part of the script they would be filming the following week - none of them knew what would happen to their characters later in the film. See more »
When Mia takes the alcohol bottle from the woman at one of the parties, it is almost empty. Later, Mia is seen drinking from the bottle in her mother's bedroom and the bottle is half full. See more »
[Mia calls Keeley using a cellphone]
[from an answering machine]
Hey, it's Keeley. Leave me a message.
Keeley, it's me. What's going on? I've left like three messages. I said sorry, didn't I? You know what I'm like. I was pissed off. Ring me back, you bitch.
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"All my films have started with an image," says director Andrea Arnold. "It's usually quite a strong image and it seems to come from nowhere. I don't understand the image at first or what it means, but I want to know more about it so I start exploring it, try and understand it and what it means. This is how I always start writing." What does the image of a fish tank conjure up for you? On the inside longing to look out, is fifteen-year-old Mia. Trapped in a housing estate. Trapped in a single parent family. Trapped by people around her she can't respect. Trapped in herself. For being fifteen. She has her own inner world, fighting to manifest itself . Fortified by cigarettes and alcohol she can kick in the door of the empty nearby flat. A bare floor. Her CD player. Practice her moves. A better dancer than those kids on the block she just nutted.
Mia is quite content to carve out her own double life, f*ck you very much! Never mind she gets caught and nearly comes to grief trying to steal a horse. And social workers don't scare her. But mom's new boyfriend that could be a pain! A real spanner in the works. Especially when he's so annoyingly nice.
Under Andrea Arnold's hand, life on this inner city concrete backwater is suddenly very alive. Banalities become beautiful. Like sunlight through cracked glass. Vibrant, gritty and riveting, but in a way that entertains powerfully. As pulsating and funny as Trainspotting but without the yuck factor. Its momentum is overpowering. We never know what is going to come out of Mia's mouth or where events will lead. Each jaw-dropping new scene surprises yet seems the result of inexorable momentum. As if that wasn't enough, the story mercifully avoids kitchen-sink drama, excessive violence, drugs, getting pregnant, grand larceny, car crashes and all the other cliché-ridden devices to which cinema-goers are usually subjected. Tightly controlled, Fish Tank attacks with a potent and thought-provoking arsenal of story-telling.
Andrea Arnold proved she could do hard-hitting realism with her award-winning debut, Red Road. Here she excels her earlier efforts but still imbibes many of the verité approaches and senses of discipline that have filtered down from the Dogme and Advance Party movements. Her 'strong initial image,' or lack of subservience to more traditional methodology, maybe reminds of the devotion to experimental, avant-garde cinema taken by artists-turned-filmmakers such as Steve McQueen (Hunger) or theme-over-story technicians such as Duane Hopkins (Better Things). Michael Fassbender, who took reality to new heights as Bobby Sands in Hunger, here plays the mystifying and warmly charismatic Connor (Mum's boyfriend).
Arnold didn't allow actors to read the script beforehand. They were given their scenes only a few days before filming. For the part of Mia, she chooses a complete unknown with zero experience. Arnold spotted Katie Jarvis at a train station after drawing a blank with casting agencies. "She was on one platform arguing with her boyfriend on another platform, giving him grief." However the performance is achieved, Jarvis is electrifying. If Arnold wanted a 'real' person for the role, this seventeen-year-old takes over the screen with raw adolescent power. Says Arnold, "I wanted a girl who would not have to act, could just be herself." Fish Tank will lift you out of your seat and on an unstoppable flight, ricocheting against confines of circumstance and imploding a dysfunctional family with its head of hormonal steam. Laugh, cry, hold on tight. You will need to. I could almost taste the vodka, as Mia goes through her Mum's dressing table drawers, bottle in hand. I wish all British films were this good.
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