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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Saturday May 18th 2024

Fish Tank & Repo Man

Fish Tank

by Howard McQuitter

Fish Tank (2009)

Running time: 123 minutes
Director: Andrea Arnold

The movie starts rather slowly, but the plot becomes more clear as the main character Mia (Katie Jarvis) waddles through meaning her life at age 15. She feels trapped by her environment in the projects in an English city. Her mother Joanne (Kiersten Wareino), is a blond busty woman who loves to party and dance.

Mia”'s little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffins) plays around the tenement though she would often prefer following Mia around. Joanne”'s boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender of “Inglorious Basterds” and “Hunger”) seems okay, a happy-go-lucky guy with a job at a factory.

The film is seen through the eyes of Misa, a school drop out, teased by boys in the neighborhood and she”'s a loner. She often uses a vacant apartment above her own to practice break-dancing while watching break-dance videos. She tries to free a horse but is physically confronted by gypsy boys. Much like Mike Leigh”'s films on English working class alienation, Arnold”'s “Fish Tank” depicts the alienation of Mia in particular, but the characters in general.

“Fish Tank” won the jury prize at last year”'s Cannes Film Festival. Andrea Arnold (“Red Road) won an Oscar for her 2003 short “Wasp”. She picks a cockney Katie Jarvis, her debut, for “Fish Tank” a mesmerizing performance by the 18 year old.

The sexual undertones by Connor toward Mia are very, very subtle. Connor”'s fetish is a case of Euphebophilia, not pedophila. “Fish Tank” can be said to be a much milder version of “Precious” with the characters being Caucasians.

Repo Man (2010)
Rosedale 8
Running time: 111 minutes
Director: Miguel Sapachnik
Rated: R

Oh, how wonderful it is for friends to endure to the end of the film in spite of differences along the way? What is not wonderful but very stinky is the move “Repo Man”, morbidly crass, cinematically dull, and filled with vapid dialogue.
Jake (Forest Whitaker) and Remy (Jude Law) work for a med-tech giant called “The Union” run by Frank (Liv Schreider) who provides artificial organs at the low cost with 17.9% interest. But if the customers default their payments, the grim reaper Remy or Jake come take back the organs, leaving the recipients dead. This ludicrous science fiction has the temerity to steal from far better crafts ”“ Terry Gillian”'s “Brazil” (1985) and Ridley Scott”'s “Blade Runner” (1982) and some futuristic films decisively mediocre but still above the ugly duckling “Repo Men”.

The films is a waste certainly for Forest Whitaker and a downer for Jude Law who is coming off an average (if not miscast) character of Dr. John Watson in “Sherlock Holmes”. As for Liv Schreider, a script full of pidgin English is enough for an insomniac to go to sleep.

“Repo Man” is based on a science fiction novel by Eric Garcia (I haven”'t read the novel) which spawns Sapachnik”'s ill-conceived dystopian film that begs the question, “Why was it ever made”?

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