New Release Review - Tyrannosaur

Directed by: Paddy Considine
Starring: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan, Ned Dennehy


With his directorial debut, Considine seems to have invented a new genre - the "Northern".
Like all great westerns the protagonist here is an antihero with a violent past. The dust and heat of the American West however are replaced with the smog and rain of Northern England.
When we first meet Mullan's bitter angry Scot he is kicking his dog to death. This is followed up with a scene of him racially abusing Post Office staff before bricking their window. Amazingly, an hour of screen time later and we're rooting for him. After hiding out in Colman's charity shop to avoid a beating, he reluctantly becomes involved in her life and discovers she is the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her husband Marsan. Their relationship is established brilliantly with Marsan urinating over Colman as she pretends to sleep. The next morning they small-talk like an everyday couple while Colman struggles to get the urine stains out of their couch.
Everytime you think this film is headed in a cliched direction it takes a sudden shocking detour. Compare this to a similarly themed film like "Gran Torino" and you'll see how easily it could have ended in mediocrity.
The acting in this is superb, Mullan is perfectly cast as the sort of guy we cross the road to avoid, Colman plays her victimised wife brilliantly, it's impossible not to want her to get revenge. Ned Dennehy is an Irish guy whose entire career has been spent playing odd looking bit parts. Here he gets a meaty supporting part as a pathetic yet likable acquaintance of Mullan.
In 1997 Gary Oldman made the brilliant and similar "Nil By Mouth" but sadly hasn't directed anything since. Hopefully Considine won't wait so long.
7/10

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