Fish Tank (2009)
Dir: Andrea Arnold
Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender
I spotted Fish Tank on BBC iPlayer a few weeks ago. I decided to watch it for one simple reason: Michael Fassbender.
Mia (Katie Jarvis), is a volatile teenager living with her mum and little sister in an East London council estate. During the opening scenes it soons become apparent that Mia is a bit of a loner, picking fights with other local teenagers for no real reason.
Near to the estate she comes across an elderly horse, tethered in a car park with some static caravans. After attempting to free it several times, she soon strikes up a friendship with its owner. However, he seems to be the only person she does get along with. On meeting her mum’s new boyfriend, Connor (Fassbender), a different side of Mia is shown, especially when he starts taking an interest in her hip hop dancing…
Jarvis – who was reportedly spotted by a casting agent at a train station arguing with her boyfriend – steals every scene. While Mia is a foul-mouthed, vodka-swigging tearaway you still care for her and want everything to be okay. The relationship with her mum and sister is strained to say the least and she really has no support from anyone. This is where Connor comes in, as he provides guidance and help to Mia where others have not.
Fish Tank is a very strong slice of life film, with strong performances by Jarvis and Fassbender. Considering this was Jarvis’ first film, it’s all the more impressive. It’s gritty realism at its best and director Andrea Arnold has made a contemporary British film to be very proud of.