By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Fish Tank examines the life of an angry and alienated fifteen year old British girl living in a “lower class” neighborhood in London. She wants to become a dancer, and spends most of her time practicing or drinking what liquor she can get her hands on.
Her mother, who must have been about her age when she had her, brings home a boyfriend, played by up-and-comer Michael Fassbender. He’s the first one to show an interest in her in quite some time, but it can be hard to gauge intention when you’re a fifteen year old girl.
A good warning sign is when he graduated five years ago
The acting is very strong, which is particularly impressive when you consider that the lead, Katie Jarvis, was found by the director on a subway platform arguing with her boyfriend. She’s entirely natural and believable, and may be looking at a new out of the blue vocation.
Fassbender is also great. He seduces the audience along with the girl, and the impact of his actions hits you just as hard as it does her.
He seems to have found a niche playing borderline pedophiles
The style and direction of the film are perfect for the story. Andrea Arnold’s direction shoots for authenticity, avoiding fancy techniques and using an almost documentary approach to help the audience connect with her protagonist. Best of all is the sound design, which is used to create an atmosphere that is dependent on the character’s state of mind without resorting to a score (all of the music is ambient). It is extremely effective.
There’s a lot of dancing in this movie, and it’s all as amateur as it should be. The problem is the sheer volume of it. It’s used to make some points, but they didn’t need nearly that much reinforcement.
You can stop now
There is how you make an authentic-feeling movie and Jarvis puts a lot of professional actresses to shame.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time someone curses in Cockney
Take a drink: whenever anybody dances
Drink a shot: every time someone underage drinks