Tyrannosaur review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a violent an angry man whose behaviour is heading him on the road to self destruction when a chance encounter with a Christian charity shop worker, Hannah (Olivia Colman) helps him begin to get his life back on track. Unfortunately Hannah has a secret of her own and its revelation has devastating consequences for their blooming relationship.
Interestingly the title does not refer to the explicitly violent actions of Mullen or of Hannah’s seeming perfect but secretly abusive husband James (Eddie Marsan) but is in fact the nick name given by Joseph to his late wife, a woman who, according to him, could make the crockery shake as she walked. This rather heartless and flippant identification encapsulates the depth of Joseph’s own personal damage, implying a strong sense of weakness and disassociation from a woman with whom he shared a bed for many years. This may sound like a common story to many and that is where the heart of this movie truly lies, in its honest and painful depiction of a man, almost unknowingly, in search of redemption.
A strong and compelling feature debut for writer/director Paddy Considine Tyrannosaur is a slow and sober probe into the emotional and mental foundations of self destruction, including a disturbing opening scene in which Mullen’s character kicks his own dog to death.
This sums the entire film up quite well really, this is not an easy film to watch, even the visuals are angular, wide screen and dizzying at times, yet it is ambitious in its depth and incredibly emotionally evocative; despite all good judgement on my behalf I found myself hopeful for Joseph’s future and this is due largely to the excellent directorial skills and acting talents of Considine and Mullen; who combined manage to bring a believable and multi-faceted character to the screen.