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Movie Review: Fish Tank

Alternate Title: Life's a Bitch and Then You Die

Story: Within the first 10 minutes of this film we know all we need to know about 15 year old Mia. She is angry, reckless, violent, has no friends, lives in a dysfunctional single parent household (project housing) with an equally angry younger sister and a trailer trash mother but she she loves to dance to hip hop and she does love animals . Ah, the saving grace.

This far too redundant film was written and directed by Andrea Arnold, who builds this story upon her Oscar winning short 'Wasp.'

This is billed as a coming of age story but for me and my Wednesday movie buddy it fell short. Mia goes from one bad situation directly into the next with seemingly learning nothing from each experience other than a deeper anger. When her mother brings home a new man to live with them there is a glimmer of hope for a human connection, but that too, goes awry. After awhile all of the characters appear to have no redeeming qualities (except for that love of animals) and we began to give up.

This film has won a bunch of European film awards but it feels as if I have seen this film too many times before with better results. I also had a hard time understanding much of the dialogue and thought the film needed subtitles.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7BFZqQ4ruA

Acting: Katie Jarvis as Mia fits the angry young girl to a tee. Michael Fassbender as Connor gave the best performance. Kierston Wareing as the despicable mother Joanne was fine. Rebecca Griffiths as the young sister, Tyler was suitably obnoxious.

Trivia: Katie Jarvis was 'discovered' when she was having a heated argument with her boyfriend across the platforms at Tilbury Town railway station. She had dropped out of school and was unemployed when she was cast in her first film.

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots of pit bulls and a an old very thin horse.

Sex Spectrum: Yes, there was squirmy sex.

Soundtrack: Lots of grinding hip hop and some oldies like California Dreaming.

Opening Titles: We see Mia as she struggles with life.

Visual Art: The housing project is terribly depressing.

Theater Audience: four other people.

Weather: It is summer somewhere in England.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 2

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch often.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: If you must - rental would be fine

Length: Two hours