Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009). Coming-of-age, kitchen-sink, neo-Dogme film about Mia, a 15-year-old lower-class girl in London. She’s a loner, doesn’t get along with her mother or sister, and fashions herself a hip-hop dancer. She is played by Katie Jarvis, who had never acted before, and in this case, her amateurism works for the film. She is completely believable as the outcast. Nothing much happens, although the film has a slightly ominous tone, as if we’re watching the calm before the storm. Eventually, she has sex with her mother’s boyfriend Conor (Michael Fassbender), a scene that is both as matter-of-fact as most of the movie and the quiet storm that finally breaks the calm. Despite the melodramatic turn, Fish Tank remains “realistic”. But then Mia effectively kidnaps Conor’s daughter, and I guess we’re supposed to see how events have pushed the outcast over the edge, but it plays out of character for the person we’ve come to know ... I didn’t believe for a second that Mia would do this, and the movie fell apart for me. It was good enough before that, and ultimately, I liked it. I also confess that the accents seemed particularly thick to me ... I even turned on subtitles for awhile. #377 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century. 7/10.
Love & Money (Bill Pohlad, 2014). 8/10.