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Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 22, 2011
  • List Price: $39.95

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Fish Tank - Dts Special

Purchase Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not related to this release were previously published as our Fish Tank [UK Release] Blu-ray Review

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Director/writer Andrea Arnold’s (Red Road; WASP) second feature film, Fish Tank, is a gritty, brutal, and realistic look at the lives of working class women in Britain. Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis), a disconsolate, streetwise, hard drinking teenaged girl, expelled from school, isolated from her peers, and with dreams of becoming a professional dancer, like those on music videos because she can “dance like she’s black,” Fish Tank is grim, but always riveting.

When Mia’s mother (Kierston Wareing), another hard drinking, loose with the foul language woman, brings home a mysterious boyfriend (Michael Fassbender)one night, the lives of Mia, her ma and her little sister (Rebecca Griffths) are threatened to be thrown out of balance with the promise of love, that, if only for an instant, begins to break down the fortress Mia has built around her heart, but as with all things in life, complications ensue. Fish Tank quickly teeters on the precipice of a nearly violent and shocking turn that viewers will not expect.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Supervised by director Andrea Arnold, director of photography Robbie Ryan, and editor Nicolas Chaudeurge, this new digital transfer was created on an ARRISCAN Film Scanner in 2K resolution from the original 35mm camera negative.

As far as I can tell, this Criterion transfer of Fish Tank looks identical to the previous UK release from Artificial Eye. The director approved 1.33:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer to Blu-ray looks good, clean, and detailed enough, but its drab imagery and soft focus do not lend it to spectacular HD demonstration material. Despite the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the image looks film-like, with just the slightest bit of grain and the occasional hint of speckles.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The surround soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master using Pro Tools HD.

Audio on Fish Tank is a very boring mix DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The 5.1 mix might as well be a stereo mix, having only only some extremely subtle, low-level ambience in the surround channels. Dialogue is clean, but sometimes a bit too low and difficult to discern.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

Supplements on this Criterion release are a definite step up from the Artificial Eye UK disc, with actor interviews, audition footage, and three of the director’s previous short films, in addition to the usually strong Criterion booklet.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Kierston Wareing (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 0:14.19) – This video piece features actor Kierston Wareing, who was interviewed exclusively for the Criterion Collection in London in the fall of 2010.
  • Michael Fassbender (0:26.22) – This audio conversation between David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, and actor Michael Fassbender took place in Queens, New York, on January 6, 2010, as part of the museum’s Pinewood Dialogues series.
  • Audition Footage (1.78:1; 1080i/60) – These auditions for the pivotal role of Mia reveal the array of talent available to director Andrea Arnold during the casting of Fish Tank.
  • Short Films:
    • Milk (1998) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:10.30) – In this short a woman suffers a miscarriage.
    • Dog (2001) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:10.16) – A troubled working class teenage girl has the true nature of her boyfriend revealed to her when a stray dog appears.
    • Wasp (2003) (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:25.46) – A woman fears her new boyfriend won’t want to date her if he finds out she has four kids.
  • Booklet: Featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie, film credits, stills, and information on the transfer.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Katie Jarvis puts on a marvelous performance in this harsh slice-of-life tale from Andrea Watson. A story of listless youth and bad choices, the director tells the story like it is without passing judgment. It’s real, it’s moving and wholly enthralling. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004CIIXFA[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Fish Tank - Dts Special

Purchase Fish Tank [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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