I went into this film not knowing anything about it, just that it was British and it featured Michael Fassbender, I had not even seen a trailer but I had seen some good ratings around the forums I frequent so I thought I would give it a shot. I am sure glad I did, I really thought this was an excellent film.
What is Fish Tank about? What do you think of when you hear the words fish tank? Small environment, trapped maybe? Well that really does sum up the film, our main character is Mia (Katie Jarvis), she is a 15 year old who dreams of becoming a dancer. She is being raised by her alcoholic single mother. Things change when her mother gets a new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender).
From the start of the film you see Mia shouting and being abusive as she walks around the local neighbourhood. It is obvious she does not really have any friends, and her abusive behaviour easily stems from her mother. Her younger sister shows the same traits and the mother does not seem to care. These early scenes are shot so well, there is a strange beauty to them, and you just can't take your eyes away. Our lead Mia played by new comer Katie Jarvis is nearly flawless in this film. She becomes her character, and she feels awfully real and true to the story being told. This girl wants an escape, she craves a father figure and she craves love and attention.
The relationship we see form between Connor and Mia seems rather harmless at first but you can feel the sexual tension between them both and the feeling that it will lead where you don't want it to sets in. Despite the way she acts, I really wanted Mia to get away from her environment and have a better life. I am not sure if anyone else who saw this felt that way for her, but I really did. I almost felt as trapped as she did at times, especially in certain scenes. There are times where you will feel uncomfortable, but it works too. As I mentioned this film feels very real, and the way it was shot really adds to that feel, it almost feels like sad poem.
As I mentioned Katie Jarvis gives a great performance and Michael Fassbender does as well. There is a certain charm about him but also something strange with Connor, there is always that uncertainty about what his motives might be. Fassbender plays it all so well, I just want to see more of him. The direction by Andrea Arnold is just done so beautifully and truthfully, she has painted a picture of something real and something sad. Definitely one of the best films I got to see in 2009 and I would highly recommend this.