13 March 2010 | druid333-2
Another Grim & Gritty Parable From England
If you think England is only good for turning out glossy, romantic films adapted from their classic novels,guess again. England has long become a staple for some grim,gritty,edgy stories of the darker side of the human condition (with an emphasis on the working class---I guess they're channeling the Charles Dickens within them). Recent films such as 'Nil By Mouth',and 'Ratcatcher' have cemented this reputation. Now add Andrea Arnold's equally harrowing tale of existential despair, 'Fish Tank'. The story centers on Mia,a scrappy 15 year old girl,played with gusto by Kate Jarvis. Mia has an attitude problem,a short fuse,and has no problem solving adverse issues with her fists (evidant by an altercation in the film's opening with another girl,where Mia head butts her,giving the other girl a bloody nose),or her mouth (she has no problem cussing out anyone who crosses her path,including her Mother & little sister,who also boast of filthy mouths). Mia's big dream is to become a big time Hip Hop dancer & is always practicing her dance moves. Things take a turn for Mia's worse when her mom brings home a new boyfriend (Michael Fassbinder),who has less than wholesome designs for young Mia. Along the way,Mia attempts to make friends with an older boy who is in the process of restoring an automobile. As with other girl's her age,Mia experiments with the usual attractions:alcohol,drugs,sex,etc. All of this makes for a film that is not always easy to watch,but easy to admire for it's bravura. Andrea Arnold ('Red Road'and several made for British television projects)writes & directs this kitchen sink view of the British working class. Prepare yourself to get kicked in the stomach for 123 minutes. Not rated by the MPAA,this film contains pervasive strong language,an outburst of violence,flashes of nudity & sexual situation,including abhorrent adult behaviour involving a minor. Not for the little ones.