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Fish Tank
The Criterion Collection

review by Zach B.



Not Rated

Running Time: 97 Minutes

Starring: Kate Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadaway, Sydney Mary Nash

Written and Directed by: Andrea Arnold



Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $29.95

Features: Three Short Films, Kierston Wareing Interview, Michael Fassbender Interview, Audition Footage, Stills Gallery, U.S. Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, English Subtitles, Chapters (21 Chapters)

Released: March 8th, 2011

Fish Tank is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full screen, featuring a digital transfer approved by director Andrea Arnold. The picture quality here is fantastic: the image is very film-like, with accurate fleshtones and great color saturation that really bounces (even as grim as the Essex projects might appear). Detail is superb and certainly stands out, and black levels hit their mark. The transfer itself has shimmering, and a blemish here and there, but that doesn't ruin what's a pleasing and sharp transfer. 


Fish Tank features a DTS-HD Master Audio surround track. It's a straightforward mix that's a little on the low side, but a mix no viewers should have any qualms with. Dialogue always come in clear, while sound effects and music do have a bit of pop but are not always so enveloping (even with the limited amount of channels used). The music definitely stands out when Mia practices her killer dance moves. Suitable, if unspectacular, overall — but it's important to keep in mind this isn't a film that's meant to utilize heavy sound design.

English subtitles are included.


Three Short Films by Andrea Arnold are included: MilkDog and Wasp — the last of which won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2004. These are worth watching, especially to see how the filmmaker's style developed. 

A 14 minute Kierston Wareing Interview is included, done exclusively for this release. Wareing speaks about meeting Arnold, the filming locations, the nature of her character and much more. There's also a Michael Fassbender Interview, which is an audio recording (done at the Museum of the Moving Image in January 2010). Fassbender speaks with the museum's curator David Schwartz for a good 26 minutes. Fassbender talks about his involvement with the movie, working with Arnold, his character and a bit more. Both are worth tuning into for those interested in insights on making the film. 

The Audition Footage is pretty enjoyable, if only that we get a look at 10 different actresses vying for the role of Mia and seeing how they played her. (Don't get your hopes up too much: the actresses merely dance.)

Rounding out the supplements on the disc are a Stills Gallery featuring photos by photographer Holly Horner, and the U.S. Theatrical Trailer.

Finally, inside the package is your usual Criterion booklet, and this one has an excellent essay by Ian Christie. 


Fish Tank is a great pick to be part of The Criterion Collection: it's an uncompromising and sometimes brutal coming-of-age tale to watch. The acting is phenomenal all around, and Andrea Arnold is an exciting filmmaker. The movie's presentation on this Blu-ray is good, while the few supplements are worth checking out. This is a nice little release from Criterion.