Star rating – 9/10
Paddy Considine certainly pulls no punches with his brilliant directorial debut ‘Tyrannosaur’, which is just out on DVD after a shamefully limited release last year. It’s a challenging watch from the very first frame, as drink fuelled rage causes Joseph, played by the wonderful Peter Mullan, to kick his dog to death. But the silent heartbreak he feels at murdering his beloved pet gives a sense of the contradictions to come. Nothing is quite how it should be in this film, and the story is all the more potent for it.
Joseph finds himself turning to a smiling, middle class charity shop worker for a sort of redemption. But Hannah, played by Olivia Colman, giving what must surely be a career-defining superb performance, does not quite fit the stereotype. She drinks to take away the grim reality of her abusive husband, with Eddie Marsan completing this trio of fine actors.
The sheer bleakness of the story is reminiscent of Gary Oldman’s ‘Nil By Mouth’, but there are some redemptive features in the morass of alcohol, violence, pit bull terriers, and loneliness. Joseph’s relationship with his young neighbour is touching, as is his honesty about his own, not insignificant, failings.
Considine, who also wrote the script, has made a very dark film which is tremendous in its power and honesty. And as it says in the final credits, don’t worry ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film.’