Tyrannosaur Review


Film is used as a medium to affect and entertain people in a multitude of ways. Away from the idealism of Hollywood, Paddy Considine’s directorial debut Tyrannosaur illustrates a gritty realism that captures the shocking reality of a fractured society.

Set in a rough, working-class area of Leeds, Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a monster of a man. Fuelled by violence as though it is an addiction, he is unable to restrain himself in situations when his temper gets the better of him. A convoluted mix of past regrets and lost dreams, he spends his life between the pub and the bookies, tormenting people along the way.

His life becomes intertwined with charity worker Hannah (Olivia Colman), whom he belittles for her cushy middle-class life and religious self-affirmation without knowing the truth of her situation. As it becomes clear that she is trapped in a relationship with an abusive husband (Eddie Marsan), an unconventional friendship forms between the two.

Tyrannosaur is a far cry from feel-good cinema. It takes a brutal look at a reality unseen by most of society. Mullan’s performance is terrific in the way he captures a man devoid of hope or purpose, who resorts to violence as a means of escapism, even though it ultimately adds little consolation. There is no disputing his chilling claim: “I’m not a nice human being.” Yet, what this film manages to do is create an empathy that shouldn’t be there. Glimpses of a softer side allow the viewer to believe that there is a nice man behind the mask; his clear affection for Hannah being evidence of this.

However, it is Colman’s performance that steals the show. Her combination of denial set against an inherent self-loathing in the face of her affliction, is incredibly powerful. As she turns to Joseph with no one else to help her: bruised, beaten and emotionally defeated, the result is undeniably moving.

Whilst Tyrannosaur is definitely not for the faint of heart, it is undoubtedly one of the most efficacious films released so far this year; you would be hard pressed to find a film more disturbing yet equally absorbing.

Taken from The Student, published Tue Oct 11th 2011.

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