Tyrannosaur (2011)

Director: Paddy Considine
Writer: Paddy Considine
Cast: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan, Ned Dennehy

Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a lonely, aggressive and alcoholic widower who basically reaches his own low when he kicks his dog to death because he just doesn’t have control over himself anymore. When he flees into a charity shop during a panic attack, Hannah (Olivia Colman) who runs the shop prays for him. Joseph repays her with a rant against her belief, her being middle class and her shiny life. But Hannah’s life with her husband James (Eddie Marsan) isn’t as good as it might seem. Instead it is shaped by constant abuse and humiliation. But despite their circumstances Hannah and Joseph connect.

Tyrannosaur is realistic and awful. There is the tiniest sliver of hope in the end, but it definitely isn’t a feel good film. But what it is, is absofuckinglutely excellent.

The script was incredible. This, this is how movies should be written. The characters are wonderfully drawn, their (rather big) failures are never glossed over and yet they remain completely relatable. The story progresses slowly, realistically and inevitably without ever feeling doomed or losing its tension. And the dialogues are good, too.

It’s easy to make a good film from a good script, though it’s also easy to screw it up. Fortunately, Tyrannosaur proves itself worthy of its script. Considine is a good director (though the writing is better) and, additionally to the beautiful cinematography, he has one hell of a cast.

Peter Mullan hits all the right notes with his Joseph – which is not easy to pull off: playing an aggressive drunk who kills his dog within the first five minutes of the movie and still have him not be a villain? Hats off to you. Olivia Colman is equally amazing. Her Hannah is so much steely resolve wrapped in cotton candy. She is vulnerable, but she refuses to give up her faith and let herself be destroyed. And manages by pure force of will. And Eddie Marsan is creepiness personified.

I was a bit worried since the movie has the subtitle “a love story” and a love story between an abuser and an abusee is a very hard thing to pull off. I was afraid that I would spend half of the film screaming (at least inwardly) at the fucked up relationship dynamics. But I didn’t have to scream, not once. They are people who are broken, yes. But their love doesn’t magically save or heal them – it just makes them realize that if they fix themselves, they might have a shot. That may not be very romantic, but at least it’s true.

Summarising: loved it.

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