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Fifteen-year-old Mia is in a constant state of war with her family, her school and her neighbors, without any constructive creative outlet for her energies save a secret love of hip-hop dancing. When she meets her party- girl mother's charming new boyfriend Connor, she is amazed to find him returning her attention, and believes he can help her start to make sense of her life - though his seemingly tender demeanor may hide a much more treacherous interior.
For more about Fish Tank and the Fish Tank Blu-ray release, see Fish Tank Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 8, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths, Katie Jarvis, Sydney Mary Nash, Harry Treadaway, Kierston Wareing
» See full cast & crew
Fish Tank Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 8, 2011
Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA Film Award for Outstanding British Film, and Best Director and Most Promising Newcomer awards at the British Independent Film Awards, Andrea Arnold's "Fish Tank" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include three short films by Andrea Arnold; interviews with actors Kierston Wareing and Michael Fassbender; audition footage; stills gallery; and original theatrical trailer. The disc also arrives with an 18-page illustrated booklet. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Andrea Arnold-s latest film, Fish Tank, is about a fifteen-year-old girl, Mia (Katie Jarvis), who lives in a tough, poverty-ridden Essex estate. She does not have any friends and thinks that her luck is terrible. She is hurt and most of the time angry.
Mia lives in a cheap flat with her little sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), and mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing, It's a Free World...), who also looks angry - at least when she isn't drunk. They don't talk to each other. When they must communicate, they scream. Most of their neighbors do the same. Mia, Tyler and Joanne have a dog that does not seem to mind.
Mia spends most of her time on the streets. She fights, drinks and often dreams about being a dancer. Like most girls her age, she likes hip-hop, the American kind. Mia hopes that one day she could win an important dance contest - and then move away from Essex.
Out of the blue, Mia's mother comes home with Connor (Michael Fassbender, Hunger), an athletic, soft-spoken guy with a day job, who likes having fun. At first, Mia does not care about him, but after he takes her on a short trip to a nearby river together with her mother and sister, she warms up to him. He moves in to live with Joanne, and a couple of nights later Mia has sex with him.
Mia thinks that it is love. Connor is convinced that it was a mistake. He attempts to explain to her that a fifteen-year-old girl cannot be in love with a man his age, but she does not understand why. "What does it matter if you like someone", Mia asks.
It matters to Connor and he goes back to his old place. Joanne is devastated and so is Mia. She goes after Connor and breaks into his house - only to discover that he has a wife and daughter. Now hurting even more than before, Mia decides to teach Connor a lesson he would never forget.
The title of Arnold's latest film, Fish Tank, could not have been any more appropriate for the type of story it tells. Mia lives in a part of Essex which she hates but cannot escape - a giant fish tank of sorts where she is a small fish, swimming in circles. The people around Mia also live in their own fish tanks. Like her, they are hurt and angry, unable to escape poverty and all the drama that typically follows it.
Despite its gloomy and genuinely unsettling tone, however, Fish Tank is not a film on a mission to educate its viewers about Essex and those who live there. There are no powerful social statements in it. There are certainly no serious political accusations flying around either.
Rather, Fish Tank is about real people reacting to real issues. People who make mistakes and do things you, I and everyone else around us would do if we were to be placed in the same fish tank they share, with limited resources and no way of getting out of it.
The film ends abruptly, without providing some sort of a logical closure to its story. Mia makes an important decision and then does what she should have probably done a long time ago. Again, she is hurt, but this time she is hopeful. Perhaps things would change. Perhaps they won't. It is time that she finds out.
Newcomer Katie Jarvis, who plays Mia, is outstanding. Her acting is raw and unpretentious, simply perfect for Fish Tank. Michael Fassbender is also incredibly convincing as the handsome friend-lover, who breaks two hearts at once.
In 2009, Fish Tank won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. During the same year, it also won the Best Director and Most Promising Newcomer (Katie Jarvis) awards at the British Independent Film Awards. In 2010, Fish Tank also won a BAFTA Film Award for Outstanding British Film.
Fish Tank Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Supervised and approved by director Andrea Arnold, director of photography Robbie Ryan, and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge, this new digital high-definition transfer was created on ARRISCAN Film Scanner in 2K resolution from the original 35mm camera negative.
Telecine supervisors: Andrea Arnold, Nicolas Chaudeurge, Robbie Ryan.
Telecine colorist: Rob Pizzey/Ascent Media, London."
This is a top-notch high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is fantastic, clarity excellent, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. Color reproduction is also very strong; the variety of blues, greens, browns, grays and blacks look rich and healthy. The daylight scenes, in particular, look fabulous. The darker scenes also convey pleasing depth and fluidity - there is no background noise, and I certainly did not see any heavy artifacts to report in this review. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern; neither is macroblocking. Finally, there are absolutely no stability issues to report whatsoever.
As far as I could tell, Criterion's high-definition transfer is practically identical to the one used by Artificial Eye for their Blu-ray release of Fish Tank. The only difference that I could see is in regard to the slightly stronger redish hues on the Criterion release (the Artificial Release has just a tiny bit stronger green tint). Other than that, however, everything else looks identical to me.
(Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Fish Tank Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master using Pro Tools HD."
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is strong, but it has a fairly limited dynamic amplitude. Indeed, Fish Tank is primarily a dialog-driven film, so do not expect a massive amount of surround or bass activity. On the other hand, the dialog is crisp, clean, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow. I also did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or dropouts to report in this review.
Fish Tank Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Fish Tank Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, one of the very best films to be released on Blu-ray in Europe in 2010, has now reached North America courtesy of Criterion. You cannot afford to miss it! Let's hope that Criterion will eventually manage to bring director Arnold's equally powerful Red Road to Blu-ray as well. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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