Tyrannosaur Movie Review

Actor-turned-filmmaker Paddy Considine expands his 2007 short Dog Altogether into his first feature, and it's a remarkably powerful drama. Not only does it show Considine as a gifted writer-director with a rare ability to explore complex layers of humanity, but it also features at least three revelatory performances.

Joseph (Mullan) is an angry man whose inner rage is like a habit he can't shake. When it costs the life of his beloved dog and threatens the safety of a young neighbour (Bottomley), he seeks solace in a charity shop run by the compassionate Hannah (Colman). And her life is just as conflicted, as she is struggling with a husband (Marsan) whose loving religiosity sits at odds with his brutal jealousy. And Joseph and Hannah's tentative, supportive friendship is also rather precarious due to Joseph's fiery temper and Hannah's inner turmoil.

Essentially this is a provocative exploration of abuse from a variety of angles. The title refers to the thundering footsteps of an approaching dinosaur, while each plot strand touches on that moment when the victim has finally had enough and snaps. But there's nothing simplistic about this, as these issues are dealt with in a wide range of characters and situations, many of which catch us completely off guard.

Mullan brings his usual intensity to the role, combined with an earthy humanity that lets us see his anguish over the vile things he says and does, as well as his feelings of powerlessness in the face of his restricted life. And Marsan is equally complex: both fragile and dangerous. Meanwhile, Colman is a steely presence, offering calm in the film's early scenes and then erupting into almost unbearable emotion as we see into her nightmarish situation. It's a brave, brilliantly understated performance that deserves a lot of attention come awards season.

And through all of this, Considine skilfully grapples with enormously important themes without ever making this feel like an issue movie. In fact, several scenes shock us powerfully with their willingness to take a difficult route through the story, leaving key elements ambiguous while allowing realism to derail normal movie structures. At the end, we are deeply shaken but also profoundly moved.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Diarmid Scrimshaw

Starring : , , , Ned Dennehy, Samuel Bottomley, Paul Popplewell, Sally Carman, Sian Breckin


Tyrannosaur Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: 15, 2011


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