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  Tyrannosaur The Violent Men
Year: 2011
Director: Paddy Considine
Stars: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan, Paul Popplewell, Ned Dennehy, Samuel Bottomley, Sally Carman, Sian Breckin, Paul Conway, Lee Rufford, Robin Butler, Archie Lal, Julia Mallam, Fiona Carnegie, Piers Mettrick, Vicki Hackett
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joseph (Peter Mullan) had a bad night last night when he kicked his beloved pet dog to death in the street, because he was drunk and someone in the bookie's had made him angry. After burying the animal in the garden, he has more bad experiences as he smashes up the post office window when cashing his benefits and gets into a fight with three youths at the pub, ending up rushing into a nearby charity shop as the stress gets on top of him. But the shop assistant is Hannah (Olivia Colman) and she makes an effort to calm him down as he hides...

Being a devout Christian, she does that by praying for him, something we think is a new sensation for him, although nearer the end we discover that's not the case, which is why he reacts in the uncharacteristically sensitive manner at the shop. Tyrannosaur for some reason rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way for not being about a rampaging dinosaur, when it was actually actor Paddy Considine taking a leaf out of fellow Brit movie stars Gary Oldman and to an extent Tim Roth's books and making his debut feature about domestic abuse, though you don't pick up on that straight away.

It was based on a short film Considine had directed a few years before, and opted to expand for this project. All those times being directed by Shane Meadows had obviously paid dividends, because he got two remarkable performances out of Mullan and especially Colman, with her almost stealing the movie from her co-star when you would have thought that with Mullan's track record of walking away with the grittier Britflicks of his day that he would be in his element. Of course, he was, but Colman managed to paper over the cracks of a difficult and not exactly consistently scripted role with considerable skill.

She was better known for her comedy before this, a regular face on television in that capacity, which just went to show yet again a comic actor almost always has one great dramatic performance in them, at least. Her Hannah seems grounded in her faith until Joseph returns to her shop the next day and as if embarrassed that she was so nice to him takes her down verbally, leaving her in tears, though the reason for that is he brings her close to recalling her husband James (Eddie Marsan) and his treatment of her. Which is summed up by his introduction where he arrives back home late at night, she pretends to be asleep and he pisses on her, a massive hint that all is not well.

Considine truly put both Joseph and Hannah through hell here, one emerging from his violent past in the hope that by rescuing this woman, however reluctantly, he may be redeemed, religiously or socially or simply for his own peace of mind, and the other passing into violence as she suffers under James's fists and worse. At various points the plotting strained credibility, but you could argue that in real life cases such as the ones we see played out on screen always have the benefit of hindsight to have people ask if anything could be done to prevent them in the first place. The answer to that being yes, as illustrated here, and that would be not to behave so reprehensibly to your fellow human as the consequences when someone snaps on either side of an abusive relationship, whether it be an antagonism in the street or between spouses, are important to avoid lest things spiral out of control and the innocent suffer. Relentless in piling on the characters' agony Tyrannosaur may have been, but it had heart and morality. Music by Dan Baker and Chris Baldwin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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