July 8, 2012

Filthy Review - Tyrannosaur

Tyrannosaur (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Paddy Considine has always been a versatile actor, appearing in such varied faire as Hot Fuzz, Dead Man’s Shoes and Submarine, so it was always going to be interesting to see where he would take his feature length directorial debut. The resulting debut is Tyrannosaur, and what a debut it is. What is possibly more interesting is the tone in which Tyrannosaur assaults its viewer.

The movie is based on, or even an expansion of, Considine’s foray into the world of short movies, and the award winning Dog Altogether, with some of the same actors being used in Tyrannosaur, and used to great effect.

The story of Tyrannosaur follows Joseph, Peter Mullan, a rage-filled explosion of a man, who in the jarring opening scenes beats his dog to death. His time is spent cashing in his benefits check, whilst abusing the cashier, and either gambling it away or, which is more often than not, boozing it away and assaulting anyone that rubs him up the wrong way. After one such violent incident he takes refuge in a charity store, and it is here that he meets Hannah, Olivia Colman, who is a kindly soul who tries to see the best in Joseph, and in turn help him.

Even though Olivia is literally the charitable type she herself keeps her own dark secrets, which slowly get revealed during the course of the movie, and it is here that the film shows that Joseph really isn’t the monster of the movie. There are characters portrayed in Tyrannosaur that are truly despicable; some show it clearly on the surface, whilst others are far more discreet about it. The fact of the matter being is that Joseph knows exactly what he is and does not try to hide it. He may not be happy about his actions, but there is more honesty about him than any other character.

Tyrannosaur is not easy viewing, and the opening scene is just a taster of the visual and emotional assault that is to follow. To describe the movie as harrowing would be a giant understatement, as the mental and physical attack on the senses that never really lets up, will leave the viewer feeling drained by the time the final credits roll.

Paddy Considine has crafted a quite stunning movie, albeit one that should be approached cautiously. The picture is one of washed out colors and depressing locations, a beaten down man fighting a world that is as beaten down as he is, and Peter Mullan delivers a quite incredible performance. Alternately terrifying and compassionate, his portrayal of a man trying to find redemption is superb. By the same token Olivia Colman plays her role to perfection as she slowly reveals the many layers of her character. Possibly the most surprising performance in Tyrannosaur though is by Eddie Marsen as Hannah’s husband Eddie. This is truly a terrifying performance in which no sympathies can be found, with his introduction to the movie being one of the most shattering scenes of the entire running time.

Tyrannosaur is a case of script, direction and acting all coming together beautifully to create a terrific movie. Somber, brutal, violent and at times uplifting, it is as much an experience as it is a movie. The very few times that the tone lifts, it only helps to add impact to the emotional turmoil that precedes and follows it.

This really is a powerhouse of a movie that will lodge itself in the viewer’s mind long after it finishes. Paddy Considine has a terrific career ahead of him behind the camera if this movie is anything to go by.

No comments: