In a gritty corner of Leeds, Joseph is a short-tempered alcoholic with a violent streak with just enough sense to know his life has gone terribly wrong and it’s driving him to self-destruction. After getting into a fight with three men after an all day drinking session, Joseph stumbles into a charity shop where he meets Hannah and gets a chance at redemption. Despite throwing random insults and directing abuse at Hannah, through her strong religious convictions, she still decides to help him. As their relationship develops, Hannah’s own secrets are revealed that her husband is violent and abusive towards her but it’s Joseph who emerges as the unlikely savoir.
British film Tyrannosaur is Paddy Considine’s writing and directorial debut and you would never know is adapted from his short film ‘Dog Altogether,’ which effectively makes the first 10 minutes of the film. This emotionally powerful character driven drama is full of fantastic performances and a deeply heartfelt story about the emergence of grace and redemption from the least likely of places.
Hope? Redemption? New beginnings? Tyrannosaur offers all of these possibilities, but the journey getting there is brutal. Joseph swings from rage to regret and it’s as if he is a man too hard to live in this World and Hannah is a woman who looks for safety within religion, but appears too soft for it. Both Joseph and Hannah are both at risk of violence, whether inflicted by themselves or by others, their need for help is mutual.
In a film that has a setting as bleak as this, its true colours are shown with the performances from the cast. There is no fancy camera work here, just raw passionate acting. Joseph (Peter Mullan) and Hannah (Olivia Colman) are truly mesmerising and give arguably their best performances to date. Not only are both performances extremely heartfelt but also completely believable adding to the impact of this film. Eddie Marsan who plays James, Hannah’s abusive and violent husband, also proves why he is becoming one of Britain’s best character driven actors.
This graphic dark look at violence and redemption is beautiful but brutal and filled with realism making it an incredible British drama. The scenes of aggression, suffering, animal abuse and domestic violence may be difficult for some to watch but in no way does this film glorify these acts. Tyrannosaur is an intense, brutal and compelling story where the director pulls no punches, but he also keeps offering slivers of hope and redemption making this film essential viewing.