Fish Tank

One of the better kitchen sink dramas that I’ve seen, about the oldest daughter of a white, working class family on an East London council estate (Tilbury, where the film is set, is a predominantly ‘white’ area, in case anyone reading who has seen the film was surprised at the lack of black or Asian characters or extras). Katie Jarvis is excellent in the lead role of Mia, while Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing and Rebecca Griffiths provide support of a high standard. It’s rougher and rawer than Arnold’s American Honey, though it does share some similarities with that later film: the age, upbringing and treatment of the main protagonist, which causes them to look for a life that lies elsewhere, as well as the Academy screen ratio used by Arnold and cinematographer Robbie Ryan, the shots of characters staring wistfully out of vehicle windows and the importance of music and dancing as everyday escapism. It’s a very hopeful film. (****)