DIRECTED BY PADDY CONSIDINE
Some movies are too often afraid to have their audience dislike their protagonist. Often directors shuffle around their deeply flawed characters or often have not got a clue over how their character plays to the audience. In TYRANNOSAUR, Paddy Considine in his directorial debut, just steamrolls through the whole problem by really testing the audience by having his main character, Joseph (Peter Mullan), kick his dog to death. What can redeem this man? Initially you expect the cliched nice Christian woman Hannah (Olivia Colman) help transform Joseph into in a not so public nuisance, but no, she actually has her own skeletons in her closet that become further exposed in large part due to her sadistic husband James (a truly frightening Eddie Marsan) embarrassing her routinely, pushing her to alcoholism in the process.
Joseph and Hannah found each other to help themselves though it is never easy as James grows more and more jealous that you are fearful that after seeing what he is capable of with no provocation at all earlier, what will he try to do to these two. Joseph and Hannah are yin and yang and the movie does not show them click immediately and even when they do become ‘friends’ they are still a combustible pair out of opposites. We see three very flawed characters who retreat often to what puts them in their tough place.
This is a tough, harrowing film that if you cannot get past the opening scene, follow your instincts and stop. But the performances by Colman (who in an ideal world get Oscar buzz) and Mullan, two great character actors, give the film its punch and bite than some miserable patronizing of working-class England. Considine’s debut is not really showy or bare-boned, it fits perfectly in the middle that is a good compliment to the films of Ken Loach, Shane Meadows and Peter Mullan’s directorial work.