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Fish Tank


Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadaway

Director: Andrea Arnold

A well-made slice of Essex life seen through the eyes of 15-year-old Mia (Jarvis) - though the character seems to be called Katie early on - who lives with her blowsy blonde mother (Wareing) and equally foul-mouthed 10-year-old sister Tyler (Griffiths) - the girls are from different fathers by the look of them - in a high-rise near Tilbury.

Despite her aggressive attitude, Mia has a soft centre and longs to liberate the decrepit white mare owned by the local gypsies. This is not a film for optimists, however, and, when mother's latest lover, Connor (Fassbender), moves in, the rest of the plot clicks predictably into place.

So, when it seems Mia's going to get get an audition to be a dancer, you know it's not going to work out the way she hopes, while Connor's inevitable seduction of the susceptible Mia is equally inevitable, though it's less clear, given later developments (triggered by the seduction) how he manages to devote so much time to Mia and her family.

Performances are decent, and the dialogue comes up with the occasional gem. 'That's harsh!' explaims Tyler, as Connor guts open a fish they've just caught on a brief but idyllic expedition to the local countryside.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Fujicolor.
122 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 06 Sep 2009