Tyrannosaur (R15)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner6/10/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Impressively directed, superbly written and featuring award-worthy performances from all three leads, this is a powerfully moving British drama that confirms Paddy Considine is as talented a director as he is an actor.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by actor-turned-director Paddy Considine, Tyrannosaur is expanded from his 2007 short Dog Altogether, which featured the two leads in the same roles. Set in present day Leeds, the film stars Peter Mullan as Joseph, a rage-driven widower with a drink problem who's berating himself for having recently kicked his beloved dog Bluey to death after an argument in the bookie's.

After a pub-based altercation leads to him getting beaten up, Joseph seeks shelter in the local charity shop, where he meets the compassionate Hannah (Olivia Colman), who fixes him up and prays for him, despite his evident cynicism. The pair gradually form a supportive friendship, but Joseph is unaware that Hannah is being secretly abused by her violent husband James (Eddie Marsan) and that she's reaching the end of her tether.

The Good
Considering his career so far, it's perhaps no surprise to discover that Considine turns out to be a gifted director of actors and he duly coaches stunning performances from all three leads. Mullan, for example, does a remarkable job of keeping Joseph sympathetic, which is no small feat when your character kicks a dog to death within five minutes of appearing on screen.

Eddie Marsan is equally good as the destructively jealous husband, but it's Olivia Colman (previously best known for TV comedy roles such as Peep Show's Sophie) who's the real revelation here, delivering an emotionally raw performance that's utterly devastating to watch. Frankly, if she doesn't get the BAFTA, there is officially no justice.

The Great
Considine's control of his material is assured throughout and there are several wonderful character moments, such as Hannah instantly snapping out of a crying fit to put on a happy face for a customer or Joseph's drunken banter with his drinking buddy Jack (Robin Butler). He also pulls off an impressive, genuinely shocking moment that it would be unfair to spoil here.

On top of that, the film is strikingly shot, with intense, claustrophobic cinematography from Erik Wilson, who keeps the camera close to the actors at all times.

Worth seeing?
Tyrannosaur is a remarkably assured directorial debut from Paddy Considine that's certain to pick up some attention come awards season, not least for a stunning central performance from Olivia Colman. Not an easy watch, but highly recommended nonetheless.

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Content updated: 22/10/2019 10:44

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