Magazine article Herizons

Fish Tank

Magazine article Herizons

Fish Tank

Article excerpt


Directed by Andrea Arnold


Fish Tank, the second feature film by U.K. writer/director Andrea Arnold, is a close study of rage and its workings within female adolescence.

Mia, played by Katie Jarvis, is a young teen living in a council flat with her neglectful mother and younger sister. Mia is stuck and tough. But within her, she protects a sliver of vulnerability. The film reminds us repeatedly that she is a teen heading for trouble and begins with Mia head-butting and breaking another girl's nose. In another early scene, a group of boys attack Mia until another boy steps in and releases a dog to scare the attackers off. Mia's mother seems to be a permanent adolescent herself - a single mother who has never grown up and despises and fears her daughter's fledgling sexuality.

The brutality of Mia's world causes her to watch it all - her physical environment, bad television, her peers, her mother's negligence and sexual exhibitionism - safely through a long lens of adolescent detachment. Mia meets everything either from this distance or with scorn. The only sign of tenderness exhibited is when she sees a sick horse chained to a post. That is, until Connor, her mother's new boyfriend, played by Michael Fassbender, appears.

With Connor's appearance the film picks up an unsettling tension. Connor is interested in Mia, believes in her talents and treats her like a peer. All this plus Connor's brooding sexuality disturb as much as they intrigue. …

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