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A view on Blu-ray by Brian Montgomery


Fish Tank [Blu-ray]


(Andrea Arnold, 2009)




Review by Brian Montgomery



Theatrical: ContentFilm

Blu-ray: Artificial Eye (Spine # 011)



Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:02:37.975

Disc Size: 40,012,390,274 bytes

Feature Size: 31,824,650,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.10 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 22nd, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video




DTS-HD Master Audio English 3014 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3014 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit






• Andrea Arnold's Oscar winning short film 'WASP' starring Natalie Press & Danny Dyer (24:11)

• Theatrical Trailer

• Photo Gallery






The Film:

Mia, the 15-year-old protagonist of “Fish Tank,” Andrea Arnold’s tough and brilliant second feature, moves with such speed and fury that she seems to be trying to flee not only from her bleak surroundings but also from the movie itself. The narrow, nearly square frame boxes Mia in, and Ms. Arnold’s on-the-run hand-held tracking shots increase the sense of panicky claustrophobia. Living in a cramped apartment in a British housing project that stands like a cluster of megaliths in the middle of nowhere, Mia is at once trapped and adrift, unable to contain or to express the feelings seething beneath the blank, sullen mien she usually presents to the world.

Excerpt of review from A. O. Scott located HERE 


Image:   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

While the image can occasionally look ever so slightly soft, this is by no means a common occurrence. Instead, the MPEG-4 AV 1080p transfer is generally excellent with very clear, sharp, and well defined images; on par with some of the best recent films. I suspect that the rare image that isn't crystal clear is the result of choices made by the director rather than anything done by the production company. The film sports wonderful cinematography and a lush and rich color scheme, both of which shine in this generally excellent transfer. There were no visible defect or artefacting and really nothing worth complaining about. Overall, it's a truly wonderful image transfer.


NOTE: The Criterion Blu-ray is reviewed HERE.


Artificial Eye - Region FREE Blu-ray TOP vs. Criterion - (reviewed HERE) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM














Audio & Music:

The audio is likewise impeccable. Much like a number of their other recent releases, Artificial Eye gives the viewer the choice between a LPCM 2.0 track and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Like always, both sound good, but the latter blows the LCPM out of the water in terms of balance and sheer strength. The movie has a very pop-hip hop heavy soundtrack as it's what Mia is always dancing to. On the 5.1 mix, the songs take on a life of their own and work as the perfect compliment to the images on the screen. Moreover, neither track had detectable imperfections like background noise or signs of manipulation. The only downside to the audio is that the film does not come with subtitles. For someone who, like me, can find themselves lost in the thickest of British accents, an English subtitle track would have been most welcomed. The disc is Region FREE!



Let's begin the look at the special features on this disc by noting the extensive number of extras found within. There are trailers here for all of AE's other Blu-rays (with the exception of "Antichrist"), "Fish Tank", and director Andrea Arnold's previous film "Red Road". Additionally, the disc comes with a series of photos taken on the set. Finally, there's Arnold's Oscar winning short, "Wasp", which deals with some of the same themes of parental irresponsibility, poverty, and latch key children that also appear in the main feature. The short is very good, but the CGI wasp has to be seen to be believed (I know, she probably got the best that a limited budget could buy, but...).



Bottom line:

I've been very eager to see this movie ever since I first heard of it, and I wasn't disappointed now in the least. While I'm not sure that it's the masterpiece that some have made it out to be, it's a very impressive second feature from a talented director who has an exquisite eye for Mise-en-scène. It's certainly worth checking out, and given the impressive quality of the disc, also worth the purchase. Those who are interested are certainly encouraged to see via this recommended Blu-ray.


Brian Montgomery

May 4th, 2010




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