Fish Tank (2009 Arnold)

Narrative in fish tank-


Fish Tank does loosely follow Todorov’s theory of a circular narrative as it begins with a equilibrium showing Mia’s everyday life although it isn’t peaceful   it is implied that this is her normal life. The disruption is when we are introduced to Connor as we dont know who he is and is a enigma for the audience. The recognition of the disruption is when Mia sleeps with Connor then leaves Mia and Joanne without explanation. Mia attempts to restore this disruption by perusing Connor and breaking into his house and kidnapping his daughter. The re-equilibrium is when Mia starts her new journey in Wales.


Fish tank features a linear narrative as all the events are presented in order.

The narrative is based around Mia’s character goal and her aspiration to become a dancer.

Features a open ended narrative as we do not know about Connor and Mia’s next steps.

Single stranded narrative following Mia’s story.

Themes within fish tank-

Violence/isolation/entrapment/crime/family/parents/dancing/social class/escapism/aspiration/jealousy/abuse/music/chaos/relationships/betrayal

Key scene analysis- (7.40)

fish tank 2

High angle shot of Joanne leaving the estate (enigma code –  where is she going dressed like that)

Camera movement around Mia while dancing in the flat, including class ups for feet and body shot could be used to involved the audience and generate a sense of closed and small space.

Pull focused used as she approaches the horse used to create a sense of tension as she moves closer to it. Wants the audience to consider Mia and then the horse.

The change in shot types as Mia approaches the horse goes from long-mid shots to close ups emphasising her relationship with the horse and her gentle nature. High key lighting used to present an idea of positivity and hope. Mia here is represented as being kind and caring.

Balcony – Mia seen looking out at her life in the estate a resounding use of soundscape emphasises her entrapment with kids screaming.

Film poetics used to demonstrate different emotions through quick edits of shots to slow movements with the horse – sound is also used here to create a sense of tranquillity as there is not much happening. Quiet.


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