Friday, June 25, 2010
FISH TANK / **
Release Date: January 15, 2010
Running Time: 123 minutes
MPAA Rating: Unrated
I must have missed something about “Fish Tank.” Reviews were outstanding, including an endorsement from one of my favorites, the Grand Rapids Press’s John Serba. It won a slew of awards from British organizations, critics groups, and film festivals. I’m still trying to figure out why.
Katie Jarvis stars as Mia, a 15-year-old-girl who seems to hate everyone and everything in her life. Her conversations routinely involve screaming than actual speaking. She has no respect for the existence of other people, rules, or the prospect of happiness.
Yet she is presented by director Andrea Arnold (who won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2005 for “Wasp”) as a misunderstood, tortured soul who just needs to come-of-age. Early in the film Mia sees a horse tied up. She tries to free the horse. It’s about as obnoxiously blatant of a metaphor as could be, and it shows up to hit the audience over the head several more times throughout the film.
Mia occupies her time by dancing, picking fights with other girls, drinking alcohol, and trying to seduce her mother Joanne’s (Kierston Wareing) boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender, who played Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”).
I was just not sure how I was supposed to feel about Mia, or what I was supposed to glean from her story. She is so profoundly unpleasant to be around that I didn’t really care what happened to her. And for a Coming of Age story, I didn’t really see that her character had any sort of growth.
With a score of 81 (“Universal Acclaim”) on Meta Critic and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%, I am clearly in the minority here, but I just didn’t see the point of it all. Jarvis, Wareing, and Fassbender do give excellent performances, but there never seemed to be any sort of end for them to arrive at.
Theater: The Ruth Sokolof Theater, Omaha, NE
Time: 715 pm
Date: April 6, 2010