Fish Tank follows Mia a pugnacious fifteen year old who having been kicked out of school spends her time aimlessly wondering around the streets. In vacant buildings she practices hip hop dance which she both takes comfort in and aspires to become a professional dancer of sorts. Her mother Joanne and sister provide for little support and one day Mia meets her mothers new boyfriend Connor, who initially seems to take on a father like role for Mia and along with Mia is the only at times likeable character.
Expectedly as the film progresses the few good relationships break down as the characters discover the truth of one another’s situation. This of course makes what is an undeniably bad situation even worse. As Mia's life falls further into disarray the film stumbles as it seemingly doesn't have anything of worth to say about the situation at hand. Instead Fish Tank presents that notion that people are simply irredeemably repulsive but doesn't go beyond this. The result is a film that presents a refreshing, unflinching, gritty and immediate portrayal of disturbed characters living in poverty, but unfortunately it is also a film that carries a message that is ultimately adolescent.
As always Michael Fassbender provides for an excellent performance as Connor and newcomer Katie Jarvis provides for an equally compelling and nuanced performance as Mia. The strength of the performances in Fish Tank are unfortunately one of the few saving graces present and are ultimately wasted on a film that simply has nothing of worth to say and is ponderously slow.
Fish Tank is a film brimming with potential. Performances are a particular strength along with its willingness to portray life with little to no hope for the future of those present. Unfortunately the film carries an adolescent message that devolves the film into an uninteresting chore to watch. Hence Fish Tank does not come recommended.