*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

So, I know it came out in 2009 but this is a film that escapes under the radar of a lot of film lovers. It is a small British production with a very strong story and to be honest, it is very difficult to find someone that has seen the film but sometimes there are films that you haven’t seen or heard of and yet, when you watch them, you ask yourself why nobody mentions this film, why nobody has seen it. Fish Tank is one of those films.

Fish Tank centres around the life of Mia (Katie Jarvis), an aggressive teenage girl living on a council estate with her useless mother and a little sister that is even more off the rails, possibly, than Mia herself. Mia’s life begins to change when she begins an uneasy friendship with her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender).

When trying to describe the story it can come across to make the film sound boring because there isn’t a lot of action in it. But what Fish Tank has are relatable characters, real experiences and brilliant performances.

Prior to this film Katie Jarvis had no experience as an actress and to this point she has appeared in no more films. Despite this, she portrays troubled Mia to perfection. Her performance is believable, you really feel Mia’s pain and problems in her life and yes, she is acting like a brat, but you empathise with the character. She wants to better herself, she wants to break away from her community and make something of her life even with everything around her trying to hold her back. If she decides that a career in acting is what she wants, then Katie Jarvis could definitely be a star of the future.

Opposite Jarvis we have the, now internationally known and acclaimed, brilliant Michael Fassbender. Currently he is getting a lot of praise for his role in Shame and received great reviews for his performance as a young Magneto in X-Men First Class, but this was the very first film I saw him in and from then it became clear to me that this man had the acting bug. Fassbender plays Connor, the man who comes into his mother’s life and finally someone who gets along with poor Mia. He seems like a friendly guy, someone to trust and confide him (and take advantage of in some cases) yet there is always something uneasy about his character and a big secret is revealed at the end, leading to Fish Tank’s attempt at an action climax.

The film is shot superbly, the community feel of the film is really felt and this makes it appear more real for the audience. There are a few things that still annoy me after several viewings. The end really bothers me. Mia wants to better herself, she doesn’t trust many, if any, people and yet she decides to go all the way to Cardiff with a guy she barely knows in his car. This does seem slightly odd to me but at least she escapes her family, who really manage to show her some affection as she leaves which provides a nice, heart warming moment for the audience.

Fish Tank is one of my favourite films I have ever seen and one so rarely mentioned. If you haven’t seen it already I would highly recommend it. If you like films based on character development and not popcorn action scenes with trucks blowing up left, right and centre then you would definitely enjoy this film.

My rating: 8/10

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