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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 09.30.11] United Kingdom movie review drama

Year: 2011
Director: Paddy Considine
Writer: Paddy Considine
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

For his feature film debut, Paddy Considine has gone back to his first effort behind the camera. In 2007 he directed Dog Althogether, a short film which won a BAFTA award, about a violent, lonely man. For Tyrannosaur, Considine has expanded on that original story and re-united his original cast of Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman to deliver a violent, oppressing tale of two people in need of salvation.

Joseph (Mullan) is lonely and quick to lose his temper; his wife has been dead five years, his best friend is dying of cancer and he spends much of his time at the local pub mumbling into his beer. One violent outbreak sees him on the run and he ends up in Hannah's (Colman) shop, hiding behind a rack of clothing. She prays for him and at the end of the day, the two strangers go their separate ways but it's not the first or last time they'll see each other. Joseph didn't run into her shop by accident and when he comes by the following day, Hannah is sporting a shiner care of her husband James (Eddie Marsan).

Joseph and Hannah, two near strangers, have a strong connection. They're both lonely and depressed and they find a kind of solace in the time they spend together and when Hannah is badly beaten by her husband and runs away, she turns to the only person she trusts. Though at first reluctant, Joseph quickly warms to the woman and the two begin a friendship that is also a lifeline to the outside world: Joseph is calmer and less angry when he's with Hannah and she feels safe around him.

Considine's story is an ugly one. Though the first instance of violence which takes place in the film's opening sequence, is (thankfully) off-screen, there's plenty of onscreen nastiness to make your stomach churn. Most of it comes at the hands of James and Marsan, a master at playing the unlikable, more than lives up to the challenge. Colman is wonderful as Hannah. Her quick, easy smile is charming and able to draw in even the most removed characters and it's that smile that, we later find out, drew Joseph to her shop in his time of need. It's in part because of her smile and the natural goodness that emanates from her that the violence she suffers at the hands of her husband strikes much more poignantly.

Considine takes full advantage of his actor's strengths and the show from Peter Mullan is, as usual, spectacular. His weathered face is capable of both joy and sadness and Mullan works the character to both extremes and Considine often focuses his camera on close-ups of Mullan's face which is always rich in emotion.

Tyrannosaur isn't an easy watch. It's a violent film about people living violent lives but there is a slight ray of hope throughout that shines particularly bright in the film's closing scene. I love that these two people find salvation in each other and that even at the lowest point in their lives, they found the strength to open themselves to someone else and in the process, help one another.

In all its bleakness Tyrannosaur manages to be a film about the goodness of humanity and that is a truly outstanding achievement.

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