Tyrannosaur centres on the unlikely friendship between two disparate characters whose lives are both marred by violence. Hannah is a Christian charity shop worker with a troubled home life, and Joseph is an unemployed widower with a short temper. They shouldn’t have much in common, but they’re both kind of lost and lonely, and desperate and I know that doesn’t really tell you much, and it probably doesn’t sound all that exciting, but trust me, this is must-see stuff.
It’s beautifully directed by Paddy Considine, whom you may have seen in front of the camera in, among other things, the truly gut-wrenching Dead Man’s Shoes, or the bitter-sweet In America. Amazingly, this was the first feature film he’s directed, and I really hope it won’t be his last.
Tyrannosaur is sympathetic in how it deals with its difficult subject matter, while never shying away from the brutality of it. This is gritty realism at its grittiest and best.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Tyrannosaur though, is the flawless performance by Olivia Colman as Hannah. In England Colman has become a TV staple to the point where it seems you can hardly switch the box on without seeing her expressive, big-eyed face. There’ll be no complaints for me though, I think she’s wonderful. The truly special thing about this, is it shows a different side of her (Peep Show this ain’t). She’s raw and real, and her portrayal of Hannah is nothing short of exceptional.
Her co-star, Peter Mullan, more than holds his own, expertly conveying a delicate balance of rage, strength and vulnerability.
There are several scenes during Tyrannosaur that are very hard to watch, but thanks to the impressive direction and hear-felt performances, you won’t be able to look away. I only wish I’d watched it sooner.