Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fish Tank

"Fish Tank" is one of the best films I've seen from Cannes 2009. It's great 90% of the way through, and even if the ending wasn't extremely satisfying, I think this is a movie you need to see. The cinematography in this film by Robbie Ryan (save maybe one scene) is amazing in many ways, including the way it utilizes movement and uses the colors it does. The plot is somewhat of the same, showing Mia (Katie Jarvis), who we first see stepping up to go pick a fight with some girls when she's probably drunk and afterwards going to try to free a horse. Her family is ridiculous: her mother is abrasive but mostly drunk, her sister sits around and drinks and smokes with her friends (she's way, way underage for both), and she, Mia, does roughly the same. Her mother sometimes tries to make her go to school, but Mia just runs out of the door, into the world, escaping her clutches. She goes to some other apartment to dance (the only thing she seems to want, as other people said), because her mother would get mad otherwise.

Connor (Michael Fassbender) she runs into at her house (that's the best way to describe it, since all she uses it for is to eat, sleep, and occasionally lie on the couch), and she doesn't like him, probably because it's a change and/or because she's extremely antisocial. He's just some guy, originally. But then things start to get put into motion (a MacGuffin, perhaps) when they go out to some obscure place where Connor catches a fish and Mia gets bitten. Somehow this really ties them together. They were the only two that went into the water of the four (Mia's mother and sister being the other two).

What ensues afterwards isn't perhaps the most satisfying second half of a film I've seen, but, as a friend says, it definitely beats most stuff out today. Another friend put it as "An Education meets Julia" and that's about right. It might not be the most original climax, but, as even all of the film's detractors have been saying, it's still watchable.

Jarvis is good, and there are not any others that come to mind in place of her. Fassbender, as Nick's Flick Picks said, gives a very good performance, one of those that's subtle. You realize, though, that the movie would not be as good without him. Otherwise, I think people suit their parts well. Andrea Arnold has done a fine job with this movie, a film about watching (as is her "Red Road") and about how if you follow certain obsessions too far, you may not like what you see. A-


aspergiansarah said...

Well, I was thinking about his one since the description sounded interesting- and this is my second high review in a row, after Roger Ebert, so maybe I should check it out?

I mean, you hardly like anything, which is good and bad because when I do see a good review I think maybe there's something special.

*sigh* But, curse it all, my local Blockbuster has suddenly and inexplicably shut down, and I rarely get to the theater.

Anyway, this being pretty indie, they'll probably be showing the latest talking-animal CGI movie instead. I wish I could go to festivals like you, but I'm stuck with the Netflix service and the libary.

Nick Duval said...

If you don't mind extremely strong language (the dreaded "c" word is used in almost every scene) and a little sexuality, this is a superb movie. I liked it for the most part. Go on IMDB and survey through all of the Cannes films and you'll find some great stuff. This movie won the Jury Prize. It probably will get released on DVD at some point, so look on Netflix. I saw it at the screening room at my really resourceful cinema, which often plays Cannes stuff there. I'm thankful for it.

You should have seen me last year and two years ago. Nearly every movie I saw I loved. 2007 and 2008 were both much better movie years than 2009. I'm glad I could start out 2010 with a really good review. Hopefully this year will bring some great films. Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is sure to be a classic.

But if you like movies that have really great cinematography, et al. this is really good. It's the best movie I've seen in a couple of months.


aspergiansarah said...

I don't really care about the 'c' word, if it's not being applied to me or a real person directly. I've been called other things, mind you.

I remember when I was a wee bit younger my dad showed me "Shaun of the Dead." He wasn't really concerned about people being torn apart, but he made it clear I was in for ir if I said 'that word.'

That is, the one Shaun's dimbulb friend uses in the first scene at the winchester "Can I get... any of you c--ts a drink?"

Why would I say that, though? Being female, using derogatory words towards women doesn't make any sense. It's like the black people who call each other N--you-know-what.

Every scene, though? That might be setting some sorth of record. Apparently, though, the 'F' word 271 times (for anyone who wanted to know, I looked that up, clearly.)

Maybe you should loosen a little with the great filmmaking thing, since so few movies meet your narrow standerds- but maybe not, huh? Is being a tough critic makes it all the more brilliant when you actually do find something that measures up.

I hope you (not me, my opinions will be most certainly different) will have a great 2010 year in movies!

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