Monday, 3 October 2011


With its story of a man and a woman brought together by fate and destined to help each other out under difficult circumstances, Tyrannosaur could easily have had a completely different title in a parallel universe.
Fortunately for this reality, what we actually get is a film that's unflinchingly brutal, tectonically moving, really quite brilliant and which at no point features Peter Mullan dancing to Kriss Kross.

Paddy Considine becomes the latest name on a long, delicious list of British directors who've crafted debuts in the last couple of years that belie their experience, and it's his steady hand that keeps this compact tale of demons and angels from tipping too far one way into Eastenders: The Serious Episodes territory and too far the other into a gruesome, OTT shoutyfest.

It helps that Considine's hired Peter Mullan and his astonishing voice, which originates somewhere in the bowels of Hell before rumbling out of his mouth like a malevolent Harley Davidson. Mullan's walking anger-management case study is a formidable presence, managing somehow to evoke sympathy and antipathy in equal measure, and it's hard to take your eyes off him, no matter how reprehensible his actions.

But even Mullan is overshadowed by Olivia Colman, who couldn't be further from her more familiar silly-faced roles in TV comedy. Colman's portrayal of a woman about to lose faith in everyone and everything is a revelation, and her scenes with Eddie Marsan, who edges closer to typecasting hell as another utter shit, are among the most intense in modern cinema, despite mostly taking place in a detached suburban house on a dull but ostensibly pleasant estate.
Tyrannosaur is without doubt An Actors' Film, but it's an important story too, convincingly written and directed in Loachian style by yet another British filmmaker to get excited about. Mostly dark and cold but not entirely lacking in humour and warmth, if it doesn't pick up a handful of awards then something, somewhere, has gone very wrong.

Probably not one for dog lovers though.


  1. 35mm movie film chatters through a cinema projector at a rate of 27 metres per minute or 2430 metres for an average 90 minute movie. Continental drift or movement of techtonic plates has a rare top speed of 6cm per year. If Tyrannosaur really did move tectonically then the movie would take in excess of 40500 years to show. I must go now, Australia is just about to ruin my trip to the Maldives.

  2. I saw this movie and the handful of awards suggested by The Incredible Suit will slip through the maker's soiled slippery fingers. Most of us have seen more than enough low life on the news bulletins this year. Why go to the cinema to have your nose rubbed in your own society's excrement?