18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
looking for affirmation in a world of emptiness,
This review is from: Fish Tank [DVD]  (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.