New Internationalist

Little Fish

August 2006

directed by Rowan Woods

Tracy has her life sorted. After kicking a heroin addiction, she’s ground out four years in a video store, and stayed clean. It isn’t easy. Family friend Lionel, who got her hooked, is still around, and brother Ray deals. Tracy, though, is indomitable, swimming every day and planning a future running her own video place. The problem is that she needs $30,000. Turned down by two banks – she’s got a conviction for minor benefit fraud, she has no security, and she’s lied on the application form – she’s tempted to get involved in a deal with Ray.

Although the plot is involved and rooted in the complications of love, friendship and ties of family and work in a Sydney suburb, the themes are anything but local – how the past sets up the present, how parental expectations live with you, how lies seem to offer a way out but dig you deeper in the mire. The script’s final shift into thriller territory is untidy, but Cate Blanchett, coolly tracing Tracy’s faltering attempts to escape banality, remains utterly convincing.

This column was published in the August 2006 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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