"Fish Tank" movie review

“Fish Tank” won the Jury Prize at last summer’s Cannes Film Festival and was widely released in Britain. It’s now available on DVD overseas, and has recently been released to a limited number of theaters in the U.S. It might be tough for American moviegoers to see “Fish Tank”, but those who do won’t regret it.

The film follows Mia Williams (Katie Jarvis), a fifteen-year-old dropout who lives with her mother (Kierston Wareing) and sister in a rundown British apartment. Mia’s dream is to be a hip-hop dancer, and her demo tape eventually lands her an audition; however, that doesn’t offset the difficult situation at home, accentuated by her mother’s latest boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender, “Inglorious Basterds”). Connor seems to be the perfect boyfriend, were it not for his perpetual phone calls to his “mother.” So perfect, in fact, that Mia becomes just as enamored with him as her mother is.

There’s a lot to like about the film, but it could have benefited from stronger story direction. It seems like the film will reveal societal truths that validate Mia’s bleak lifestyle and decisions, but by the end it’s clear that any message must have been lost during the 123 minute film. Though it’s an enthralling story, the film didn’t leave me with the “Ah, I get it” moment that I’d hoped for. Instead, the ending doesn't really give a clear indication of what will happen next.

Overall I would say Yes, see this movie. Many will be put off by the realistic, gritty style; almost all of the shots are filmed by Steadicam. And some might be offended by the pervasive profanity, as well as by depictions of teenagers who drink, smoke, fight, and have sex. If you can tolerate all that, “Fish Tank” rewards with a harrowing story about life for urban British youth. Reviewed by Jake.

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