Okay, gunna start this one off by saying this review is not for the faint of heart, I had to grit through it myself to be honest. Tyrannosaur (2011) is a British realist drama, written and directed by Paddy Considine, very much in the style of British director Shane Meadows. Tyrannosaur is a very harsh realistic drama, for a very harsh world. I mainly decided to watch it as I’m a fan of Paddy Considine’s acting and was curious as to his directing style, also the film did relatively well at Sundance.
Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a damaged, harrowed individual who’s self-destructive nature has lead to the boring life he now leads that contains nothing for him. In the opening scene of the film, Joseph is outraged at his misfortunes at the bookies, as kills his dog as a result. He immediately feels remorse, and buries it. Continuing this downward spiral he meets Hannah (Olivia Colman) a charity shop worker who prays for Joseph and tries to help him. At first he rejects her, however they keep interacting regardless, as he asks her to pray for his dying old friend. Joseph claims Hannah doesn’t understand what life is like for him, yet she suffers constant abuse from her husband, including assault, rape, urination, and at one point she claims he inserted glass inside her so she couldn’t have children. She moves in with Joseph for the time being, as they fight, as she claims he is the only one she can run to. Joseph takes her house keys as she sleeps and goes to confront the husband, only finding his dead corpse. As the narrative climaxes, we see Joseph as a reformed man, wearing a suit, changing his ways, as we see him on a train. In the final few shots we see Joseph go to meet Hannah in prison, showing his affection for her.
That was kind of a messy synopsis by me, but it’s often difficult to effectively summarize these real life domestic dramas without drumming over excessive detail. Obviously you expect this kind of harsh statement about the world, and how people can be from social realism, but at the same time, Tyrannosaur doesn’t contrast these damaged, victimized individuals to any concept of normality, and the amount of reprieve in the film is bare glimpses if that compared to the amount of wrong we see. Joseph as a character, is very well played by Peter Mullan, incredibly distant, silent, yet so emotionally unstable. I did have a lot of empathy for Joseph, while knocking down the shed, trying to forget about his dog, as it prayed on his mind. I think the trouble I had with Tyrannosaur was the characters aren’t very consistent they seem to change and shift all the time, and it doesn’t really show them develop, the moments of crisis when they are forced to change at people. Like the end for example, when we cut from Joseph getting revenge and brutally slaying the pitbull with what we assume from the silhouette, is a baseball bat to, a changed man who practices religion. Surely the film should be about the reformation of this man, if it’s truly trying to be a social realist film, which of course it is, yet it just builds up to it, then shows it there rather abruptly.
The title of the film, I was expecting to have some deep meaning, however, it’s simply the nickname Joseph referred to his wife as, as she was a diabetic, and slowly killed herself by eating unhealthily, so he used to lambaste her for it, joking that when she walked downstairs, the walls would shake, and his tea would ripple, like Jurassic Park. Hence the film poster, showing a Tyrannosaur in the ground, referring to Joseph’s dead wife. Tyrannosaur seems like it wants to have some kind of social message, yet it doesn’t seem what, everything seems awfully contradictory to something else. Violence doesn’t solve everything, but Joseph is never punished for his violent sins. Is this because he repented in the eyes of god? Hannah killed her abusive, perverted, psychotic husband, but was punished all the same, in prison. Thus i’m not too sure what Tyrannosaur is really trying to tell us, other than just being a vaguely interesting take on a kitchen sink mellodrama, which I think would be dismissing it at surface value.
Tyrannosaur certainly was an intriguing and an interesting film, however as a cinematic experience I certainly can’t say it was enjoyable, it was harrowing, rather saddening with little justification, and I really had to pace myself watching it. Can’t like em all I suppose, if you have any views yourself on Tyrannosaur I’d be happy to hear them. Until then, Tweet me @Sams_Reel_Views if yah like, or Like/Comment/Follow for more of my content. Until next time, amigos.