Posted on 7/06/12 10:44 PM
"I hate you!"
Synopsis: The life of hot-tempered teen outcast Mia takes an unexpected turn when her mother, Joanne, brings home a handsome and mysterious boyfriend named Connor, who pledges to bring sweeping positive changes to the household.
There may be no other style of cinema so uniformly British than the "Kitchen Sink Drama". In the 1950's, Britain didn't have an equivalent to the mystical (often mythical) "American Dream" that gave hope to millions of citizens. IF you were born into the lower working class, there was no radiating pathos that suggested you could escape the fate already laid before you. As a result films of this movement often featured an "Angry Young Man" in the picture's lead role, young adults who knew their fate, and often were powerless to affect their own lives. The system just didn't allow it.
Andrea Arnold second feature film, Fish Tank; follows in the footsteps of it's kitchen sink predecessors. One of the great pleasures of Fish Tank (and just about all kitchen sink dramas) is it's hyper-realistic depiction of life. The actresses aren't flawless prom queen beauties, the cars aren't mercedes benzes, it's not always sunny in philadelphia, and the environments feel real because they ARE real; as if you recorded the footage yourself. It's a film afraid of style, and as a result we get a slice of life that feels 100% genuine.
What the picture lacks in style it replaces with substance. The writing is wonderful, taking the angry young man concept of it's genre and supplanting it with a young lady, and adapts itself to analyzing angst-ful teenage girls instead of guys. The acting is extraordinary, lead actress Katie Jarvis has no acting education, yet is wholly believable enough to forget she's reciting lines and being directed and not just living her life.
There's really not much to complain about in Fish Tank. Sure it doesn't really advance the genre forward much, but asking for that would be asking too much.