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Fish Tank

Year: 2010
Studio: BBC Films
Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Katie Jarvis

This indie drama has some very familiar elements as it depicts the lives of the disadvantaged, and if you're a cynic you could be bored with this sort of thing - we've had the same from just about geographic region and period of modern history.

This time the hero is 15-year-old Mia, who lives in a squalid council estate in the UK where the inhabitants are sozzled by alcohol, foul language and the mass aspiration to urban black American culture.

Mia loves hip hop dancing. She dresses like a gang member and fights with her precocious sister and promiscuous mum, escaping to an empty flat to practice her moves. She's never known any tenderness so she latches onto her mother's new boyfriend Connor. His charm breaks down her natural snarling hatred for everything to the point where she starts to feel like she belongs to a family.

So you simply know it's all going to go wrong and at a little over two hours it's refreshing that there's an actual plot here rather than a series of vignettes about the extremes of urban poverty, which is what I expected.

The best name for the subgenre I can come up with is modern urban dysfunction, and if you like this sort of thing this is the best example of it in awhile.

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