Fish Tank (2009)

Everything changes for 15 year old Mia when her mother bring home her new boyfriend Conor in this powerful drama film directed by Andrea Arnold.

Mia is the volatile and socially isolated 15 year old. Her relationship with her mother is estranged and she curses like a sailor. Mia is a talented dancer and uses hip-hop as a therapy to get through the days. Mia is played by Katie Jarvis who never had any acting experience before that movie, and she got the part after arguing with her boyfriend on the train station. The male lead is played by Michael Fassbender as Mias mothers new boyfriend the handsome and charming 30+ years old Conor O’Reily. After a while it is developing a very creepy sexual relationship between this child and this adult.

This is a very realist film. It is filmed in Essex and really managed to capture the realism of a poor family living in the suburbs. Class segregation is a recurring theme and the use of music is really fascinating.


Arnold is an amazing director. She manages to display the poverty of the Essex Suburbs, and she manages to make a film with it’s own kind of beauty. She also manages to capture the complicated sexual tension between the angry child Mia and the adult Conor with such realism and it is uncomfortable

Here we have this child who already does stupid things, and there is alot of triggering factors for even more stupid things. Her mother talks back to her daughters and the entire movie is filled with some pretty messed up dialogue and poor choices. I felt terrible for Mia at several occasions, and it does not take very long before you realize that something is very off here. The movie is a piece of art, but it is so creepy.


The realism of the mise-en-scene is done really well. Everything we see on the camera shows signs of poverty. Mia and her sister are dressed in cheap simple clothing and here we get this upper class man in the poor neighbourhood and you can cleary see he does not fit in.

The use of sound in Fish Tank is also quite fascinating. There is absolutly no use of soundtrack in this film. There are quite the poweful sound effects. a lot of bird sounds and powerful car engines. It is like we hear everything Mia hears seeing how even when the cinematography stops following her we can still hear the sound effects just as well. There are of course a lot of music in this film. Mia is a dancer and the way she practices her dancing uses a lot of dietetic sound with the music. She uses quite a lot of Hip Hop to practice her dancing.


Fish Tank is quite the fascinating piece of film. Then 18 year old Katie Jarvis shines in her very first acting role, and her on screen chemistry with Michael Fassbender is both realistic and disturbing. Andrea Arnold shows her qualities as a director of british cinema in this realistic drama film. Fish Tank is a dramatic tale of a girl who gets her life turned around, and quite the tragic tale.

Score: 8/10


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *