Wednesday 23 March 2011

Fishtank (2009) - Andrea Arnold

Fishtank is a fitting name.  It’s filmed firmly in the social realist mould, the viewer observing through the glass of the camera lens.  Yet much is shot from the inside out, emphasising the central theme of entrapment for Mia (Jarvis).

She is our protagonist, but what begins as a film about her dysfunctional life on an Essex council estate morphs into a perverted love story once she meets her mother’s boyfriend, Connor.  He becomes a father figure and with him a family unit is formed.  The narrative then follows a twisted oedipal trajectory as Connor straddles the boundary between father and lover, sexual tension between him and Mia growing (literally) to the point of climax with disastrous consequences.

The sense of realism is flawed due to the predictable narrative that borders on fantasy, but Jarvis gives a believable performance in a gripping, well constructed, though sometimes difficult to watch, film.


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