Gregory Ashman’s review:
This was my first first foray into Andrea Arnold's work as a director and it was a satisfying visit, especially after hearing so many people rave about the great intensity behind this film and after watching Criterion's Three Reasons video : www.criterion.com/current/posts/1885-three-reasons-fish-tank . The talents of newcomer Katie Jarvis bring a pretty intriguing mix of adolescent chaos, tenderness and the confused need to make a connection shockingly into focus through her performance as Mia. I really appreciated Arnold's skillfully executed hand held cinematography (done in the 1:33 boxed ratio that makes the coiled up drama seem claustrophobic in scenes both inside and out of the decay of the English council estate where Mia lives with her sister and negligent mother). Michael Fassbender's big brother/predatory turn in this as the live-in boyfriend of Mia's mother is also another performance of note that further demonstrates Fassbender's incredible range in balancing both dangerousness and fragility in his characters. Recommended to not only fans of modern British social realist cinema, but also those seeking something fresh, with an honest spark of life that doesn't let you look away.