Sunday, April 03, 2011

Viewing Log #80: Fish Tank [Andrea Arnold, 2009]

by Ryland Walker Knight

Know nape

Though I'm perpetually curious how female filmmakers/artists will represent sexuality (ie, women tend to render the complications and contradictions in fascinating ways), most of this flick is bogus. Sure, Katie Jarvis has spunk. But this Ouroboros idea of "the poor" and their tendencies isn't just clichéd but condescending. Like Sicinski, I thought the "reveal" was going to be commentary on the cinema's tourism, but, no, it's just a hackneyed way to say what you already know: people make bad choices for selfish reasons all the time. All that said, the film is visually compelling, with its square format frame (though the conceptual weight of that choice is rather like a sack of cement) and play with POV/voyeurism. Better, Arnold carves a sense of place/milieu, however obvious it might be, which gives me hope that her Wuthering Heights will be mired in the moors, gloomy and scary along with sexy, and not some Ho'wood romantic gloss with stairways to heaven.

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