Tyrannosaur is the first feature film by actor Paddy Considine (Submarine) who switched up his traditional role for writer and director on this film. It is a dark look into a lonely man whose life is filled with drinking and anger that at times can be hard to watch. Tyrannosaur is this year’s feel bad movie of the year (tied maybe with We Need to Talk About Kevin) that does not offer much for hope nor does it shy away from domestic violence and abuse. Domestic abuse is one of the scariest horrors in film, because it is the most realistic kind.
To say that Joseph (Peter Mullan) has anger management issues is a huge understatement. There are random moments where his anger explodes out of control. He will be the first to say that he is not a good human being. In the very first scene we see Joseph getting so upset with his dog he ends up kicking it to death. Shortly after that he shatters a store’s window with a rock without reason.
Joseph spends much of his time around local pubs where it is not uncommon for him to get into fights with other people. He is an Irish widower whose wife died of cancer. But you get the sense that his aggression has been with him his whole life.
One day Joseph stumbles into a charity thrift shop that a young lady named Hannah (Olivia Colman) runs. Hannah is a proud Christian and is quick to offer him a prayer knowing that his man is lost in this world. She is one that forgives easily or so it seems. Joseph is a little perplexed as to Hannah’s kindness to a total stranger.
On the outside Hannah has a happy-go-lucky attitude but there is more to her than meets the eye. That is until you see her eye is bruised one day as she is opening up the shop. When asked about it she lies and said she fell. In the back, she is seen taking swigs of alcohol.
She is more like Joseph than you would believe. However, she is not the one with the anger issues or the abuser but rather the abused. Just like when Joseph came to her when he was at his lowest point Hannah comes to him at hers. Maybe he sees the damage he has done in the past through her but even when you see his kindness shine through, it is not without boundaries.
As you probably have guessed the black eye was not caused by her falling. It came from her husband James (Eddie Marsan) who beat her after seeing her merely talking to Joseph. This is the kind of man who comes home drunk, urinates on her purposely as she pretends to sleep and ignore it. But everyone has a cracking point where enough is enough, Hannah is reaching hers quickly.
Peter Mullan is undeniably exceptional in his performance as Joseph in Tyrannosaur. His unrelenting anger sets the whole bleak tone of the film. When the time called for it, which was not often, he showed his character had some kindness to it. Olivia Colman was just as equally as impressive.
Tyrannosaur is a grim tell-it-how-it-is kind film that is more of a character study than plot based. It is a brutal film that does not reward you with much salvation or uplifting message. Instead, the reward is the amazing performances by the cast members. It is one you have to be in the right mood to see.