Tyrannosaur (2011)

  • Time: 91 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Paddy Considine
  • Cast: Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan, Olivia Colman


The story of Joseph, a man plagued by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As Joseph’s life spirals into turmoil, a chance at redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret of her own with devastating consequences to both of their lives.


  • Hannah: I feel safe with you.
    Joseph: Nobody’s safe with me.

    This was a damn good movie. One that holds you tight and won’t let go. One that shakes you up and once again points out that your everyday life isn’t so bad. A fairly heavy movie with partner violence as an emotional topic, intertwined with a religious layer. It’s not exactly a movie you should watch if you are in an emotional dip, because it’s actually a terrible dark depressing film.

    The acting performance of Mullan and Colman was overwhelming and impressive. 2 Tormented souls who find each other and ultimately find support in each other. Joseph a terribly aggressive loner who apparently already battered his wife and now lives in a daily haze of alcohol. It’s in such a drunk moment that the aggression and rage appears once and while in such a terrible way that he even kicks his faithful dog to death. Or he starts threatening a teenager in a pub. Eventually, he runs into a secondhand clothing store, where he meets Hannah. A deeply religious woman who is a victim of sexual violence and abuse by her husband. Despite that they are actually opposites, they try to cling to each other and support each other.

    The strength of the movie is its realism. The image of rage and violence. I don’t think any of the images or segments used in this movie is exaggerated. It’s not an easy film to watch and it leaves a bitter aftertaste. But the film touched me deeply and was full of intense feelings.

    The best part was the funeral of Joseph’s friend, where everyone in the pub is drinking a beer and someone sings a sensitive song on his guitar. A time when you briefly see the two main characters flourishing, and that they can enjoy the simple things in life.

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  • Having done some of his best work with director Shane Meadows, it’s no surprise that first-time director Paddy Considine turned to the darkest areas of the human soul to find a story that is both violent and romantic, without ever confusing the two. The Meadows/Considine collaborations A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) and Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) were an unsettling mixture of mental anguish and kitchen-sink drama, but Considine’s debut, Tyrannosaur, keeps the tone firmly within the boundaries of the Ken Loach School of Gritty Film-Making, which help make this often gentle tale of two broken souls finding common ground often difficult to sit through.

    An expansion of Considine’s BAFTA award-winning short Dog Altogether, Tyrannosaur follows Joseph (Peter Mullan), a heavy-drinking and unemployed widower with extreme anger issues. We first meet him being thrown out of a pub following an unseen altercation, after which he kicks his dog to death in the street in a blind rage. Further anti-social behaviour sees him end up in a charity shop owned by God-fearing Hannah (Olivia Colman). Joseph is abusive and possibly dangerous, but she decides to help him anyway. Hannah’s apparently comfortable middle-class life is at odds with the tougher upbringing experienced by Joseph, and he initially scolds her for it. Yet as the charity shop evolves into something of a safe haven for Joseph, he comes to learn that Hannah’s marriage to James (Eddie Marsan) is an abusive one, and that she has her own demons to face.

    The film certainly doesn’t pull its punches. From the opening scene of witnessing the protagonist of the story brutally kill his own animal to a graphic rape later in the movie, Tyrannosaur is uncomfortable viewing but is never out to simply shock. The character of Joseph was based on Considine’s father, but rather than being a carousel of unpleasant experiences torn from the directors memories, the film instead ponders whether a life wasted can be redeemed. Joseph and Hannah may seem to be complete opposites, but their shared disappointment in the life they have led and the suffering they have endured makes for a romantic bond that is both believable and profound. The relationship is given extra weight by the performances of the two leads. Mullan is uniformly excellent in a type of role he has done before, but Colman, who was up to this point of her career mainly known for her comedy work, is a revelation. An impressive debut work from an actor I have admired since I first saw him back in ’99.

    Rating: 4/5

    Read more reviews at The Wrath of Blog

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