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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best British film since Harry Brown
Fishtank is the story of Mia (Katie Jarvis); a 15-year old living on an estate in Barking. Behind closed doors she aspires of being a dancer and practices religiously, away from prying eyes, afraid to show any weakness to even her family. When her mother's new boyfriend, the charming Connor (Michael Fassbender) moves in and supports her in her dancing, she starts her...
Published on 20 April 2010 by J. Morris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars excellent film but no subtitles at all
bad news for the hearing impaired, there are no subtitles at all, a shame.
But as the film has more to do with inner feelings than words ...
( strong language in the mouth of the rebellious teen only a shield, a firewall of sorts enabling her to cope with the grim, contemptible cynical world of inadequate adults )
Published 13 months ago by yb


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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best British film since Harry Brown, 20 April 2010
By 
J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Fishtank is the story of Mia (Katie Jarvis); a 15-year old living on an estate in Barking. Behind closed doors she aspires of being a dancer and practices religiously, away from prying eyes, afraid to show any weakness to even her family. When her mother's new boyfriend, the charming Connor (Michael Fassbender) moves in and supports her in her dancing, she starts her coming of age and the lines between a friendship and her feelings start to blur.

I thought this film was really something special, completely different from the usual fare and had me captivated from beginnning to end. The relationship between Mia and Connor is electric, as he plays the supporting friend fantastically and you are not sure if it is completely one-sided or if there is mutual chemistry. Fishtank is well shot and illustrates the harshness of London council estates and what one must become in order to survive and persevere. More importantly, it shows Mia burning desire to escape her life through her aspirations to dance at any cost.

Katie Jarvis is an excellent actress for someone of her age and shows a full set of emotions, with both angry and sensitive moments, you really start to feel for her in her trials and tribulations. The film is more of a snapshot of her life than a biography; as it begins and ends rather abruptly and nothing is really left resolved at the end, despite this it is a very powerful film and will leave you thinking about some of the issues broached well after the credits have rolled. Highly recommended!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars life's hard, get on and live it, 26 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Fish Tank is a wonderful fresh-faced drama about a teenage girl's difficult and somewhat emotionally deprived life with her young sister and uncaring mother on a rough housing estate. It's unvarnished, unsentimental, hard, honest and ends really effectively.

The short film Wasp which accompanies the main feature is an absolute edge of the seat gem. It tells the story of a very young and scandalously irresponsible mother of 3 small children over the period of about a day. Truly an excellent little film as deserving of a main billing but for its brevity.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and unassailable!, 20 April 2010
By 
A. J. Cox "Andrew Cox" (London, N22) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
'Fish Tank' is by far the best film of 2009. Cinematically, it is a masterpiece. The tough world of a council estate in Essex is conveyed powerfully and unsentimentally. Arnold depicts the harsh conditions that predominantly white working-class people live under truthfully, without subordinating her art to the usual tired left-wing critiques of poverty. She shows us behaviour which would normally be perceived as aberrant - such as primary school children smoking - without passing judgement. Life is harsh in Arnold's film, but there is plenty of it. 'Fish Tank' portrays society's most desperate and ignored and their means of escape - young Mia (Katie Jarvis) wants to be a dancer; her neurotic mother (Kierston Wareing) finds escape through sex and alcohol, as does her mother's handsome and mysterious boyfriend (Michael Fassbender).

There is no Ken Loach style sting-in-the-tail in this film. Arnold is not out to make explicit political points, but one thing she does go out to show is the reality behind the lives of the so called 'underclass', people whom society demonises and slaps ASBOs on in the hope that they will disappear into a corner. The council estate and its surrounding area, the docklands around Tilbury, are skilfully rendered by beautiful, atmospheric camerawork - there are moments we see shots of the moon and a solitary tree blowing in the wind, subtly contrasting nature with the manmade dull grey concrete tower blocks and estate that Mia and all the other residents inhabit.

On the DVD extras for her previous feature film 'Red Road', Arnold commented on how amidst the poverty there is life and vibrancy to the people who live on council estates. This was not sentimental glamorisation or cheap sympathy on her part for Britain's poor, but an affirmation and assertion that there is life burning intensely in these places. Her observations expose how shamefully ignorant we are to pass judgement on our fellow living, breathing citizens and not see their dreams as valuable to society - that is far more antisocial and deleterious to society than an eight-year old child puffing on a cigarette.

A brilliant, life affirming film that is at times shocking and unsettling, yet restores the soul. This is not typical coming-of-age cinema fare Don't miss this film: life is too short!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I've ever seen!, 4 Sep 2010
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B. Ritan - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
A masterpiece! The story, the actors, the photography - everything is awesome in this subtle, great movie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best british film for quite a while, 5 Mar 2010
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P. Burns "film lover" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This was great. I am finding it harder to be shocked or concerned in film, but I felt on edge throughout this. It is very real and believable. Of the same quality as the greats like 'inside i'm dancing' and 'adam and paul'Adam & Paul [DVD] [2007]
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANDREA'S MAGIC MOVIE, 7 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This one's a curiously uplifting gem, dug out of earth that's best described as scorched.

Andrea Arnold's masterful film about the pains and all-too-rare pleasures of adolescence on a run-down housing estate is sure to become a classic of its kind. It's a well-crafted and beautifully shot tale of low-life horrors, boasting what must be some of the best contemporary performances on screen. It may not be a cheerful film, but it has moments of something like humour that serve to highlight its compellingly dark beauty.

If only the UK Film Council had been more consistent in its choice of material to invest our money in, it might not now be defunct. By investing in FISH TANK, it backed one of its winners.

Andrea Arnold's career as a director will be an interesting one to watch. She has something powerful to say, and has certainly come a long way since her days as a presenter on Saturday morning kids' telly.

FISH TANK cannot be recommended highly enough.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this DVD, 22 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Deservedly presented with a BAFTA award (Feb 2010) this movie, a follow-up to the awesome 'Red Road', is probably one of the best I have ever seen detailing what it's like today growing up in a sink estate. The cinematic structure, the scene setting and the acting - not least Katie Jarvis's spunky, vulnerable lead - is what cinema should be about, not America's air-brushed, short-attention-span hokum. If you care about British cinema, and are prepared to grit your teeth and watch the injustices we put today's deprived youth through rather than turn the other way, get hold of this film and tell your friends about it.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just the best British film of 2009 - maybe the best film of 2009 altogether, 25 Jan 2010
By 
N. J. Burbidge (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I came out of the cinema after watching Fish Tank just completely floored by the film. It grabs you by the throat. This is what it is to live on the margins in Britain in the 21st century.

Yet Fish Tank escapes the usual social realism for which British film is often praised because it focuses so clearly on Mia. It is as much about what it is to be a teenager and a growing woman as it is about poverty. Director Andrea Arnold is comfortable with social and sexual ambiguities that you just don't see in Ken Loach and this propels the film into greatness.

I quite liked Arnold's first film Red Road, which showed she had an amazing visual flair but was let down by the poor characterisation and some clumsy plotting (paticularly the soapy end). Fish Tank is a huge step forward and I can't wait for Arnold's next film. The only film I can compare it too is Pawlikowski's excellent My Summer of Love. See both!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars looking for affirmation in a world of emptiness, 13 Oct 2009
This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
As with Red Road, this film explores concepts of loneliness, isolation, power as a woman. Andrea Arnold has an exceptional ability to capture a mood in her films - like Red Road, this film is heavily centred around a high-rise tenement block which seems removed from the London landscape, an unwanted protrusion. The lead character, Mia, is simultaneously incredibly strong and frail - her dancing and slagging off of her friends demonstrates her front, but despite her gobby banter with her mum and younger sister, you know there is affection and love in her and a need to be loved back and have her passion - her dancing - appreciated by others. Katie Jarvis deserves high praise for successfully walking this tightrope.

Alongside the grittiness of East London and Tilbury, this film also explores the problems posed by a new father figure in a home with a teenage girl and the emotional tensions that this can create. The over-riding feeling of the film is one of a haunting emptiness; as such, you should carefully plan when you watch this film as it definitely is not one with a defined start - middle - end; it is more phenomenological, but in a far more successful way than, say, Gus van Sant was with Paranoid Park. The film does have moments of dark comedy as well as moments of despair, and it is far from being nihilistic despite the difficult circumstances of its main protagonists. The film wasn't quite perfect, and I'm struggling to spell out why, but it is still well worth your time to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars excellent film but no subtitles at all, 28 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
bad news for the hearing impaired, there are no subtitles at all, a shame.
But as the film has more to do with inner feelings than words ...
( strong language in the mouth of the rebellious teen only a shield, a firewall of sorts enabling her to cope with the grim, contemptible cynical world of inadequate adults )
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Fish Tank [DVD] [2009]
Fish Tank [DVD] [2009] by Andrea Arnold (DVD - 2010)
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