Tag: British film

Netflix Pick: ‘Fish Tank’

Fish Tank (2009)
Written & Directed by Andrea Arnold
122 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Andrea Arnold’s 2009 film Fish Tank is her second feature after the equally excellent 2006 film Red Road.  A hard-edged drama, Fish Tank provides a look into the life of a troubled young girl and the conflicts that surround her.  Mia (Katie Jarvis), rebellious, angst-ridden, foul-mouthed 15-year old lives a lower-class existence in Essex with her precocious younger sister and their young, sexed-up, chain-smoking, and seemingly unloving mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing).  Expelled from school, Mia spends her days wandering around her town drinking, causing trouble, and practicing her one passion, dancing.  Joanne then brings home her new handsome Irish boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender), and he becomes friendly with Mia, encouraging her to pursue her love of dancing.  Their relationship eventually takes a turn, and Mia sets out to change things in both her own life, and for those around her.  Arnold has crafted an outstanding film here, with an excellent script and fantastic direction.  Young Jarvis gives a performance to rival Jennifer Lawrence’s in Winter’s Bone.  Fish Tank won Best Film at the 2009 BAFTA Awards (British equivalent of the Oscars) and won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes.

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Netflix Pick: ‘This is England’

This is England (2006)
Written & Directed by Shane Meadows
102 mins.

By Tim Lucia

Shane Meadows’ semi-autobiographical film This is England is an unflinching look into disenchanted youth, racism, and English subcultures.  In 1983, mods, new wavers, punks, and skinheads dominate the social scene in England.  Loner Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) begins his summer by getting picked on and fighting with local kids.  On his way home, he meets friendly skinhead Woody (Joseph Gilgun), who takes Shaun under his wing.  Shaun makes new friends, parties, and begins to be happy and enjoy his life.  Enter Combo (Stephen Graham) a dangerous, angry, militant skinhead who also takes a shine to Shaun.  Set against a backdrop of the Falklands War, Shaun sides with Combo, and the conflict escalates, forever changing the lives of all the characters.  Strong performances, story, and cinematography highlight this powerful film which won Best Film at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards.  The soundtrack features classic hits from reggae band Toots & The Maytals.