- Running time:
- 91 minutes
- Peter Mullan -
- Olivia Colman -
- Eddie Marsan -
- Ned Dennehy -
- Sally Carman -
Leeds widower Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a rage-a-holic on a lifelong rampage. He violently erupts into brawls with strangers, shatters storefronts and destroys yard sheds, and—in the movie's bracing opening moments—pummels his dog to death in a fit of fury. A chance encounter with a devout Christian woman, Hannah (Olivia Colman), at a charity clothing store leads to a wary and unexpected friendship between them. But Hannah masks turmoil of her own, wrought by an abusive and jealous husband (Eddie Marsan) suspicious of her relationship with Joseph.
The buzz: "Tyrannosaur" is the directorial debut of actor Paddy Considine ("The Bourne Ultimatum"), who also wrote the script based on a short film he released four years ago. The movie earned strong reviews at Sundance this year, but it really got tongues wagging last month when an avid supporter, critic and blogger Jeff Wells, mounted a grassroots campaign to raise $2,000 to independently screen the movie and boost its profile among Los Angeles awards voters.
The verdict: "Tyrannosaur" is tough to watch: a seismic jolt of violence both physical and psychological, with bruises both visible and deeply burrowed. And yet it's also a moving story about grace, compassion and solace. "I feel safe with you," Hannah says to Joseph at one point, to which he replies, "Nobody's safe with me." But she is, drawn to the security of his volatile brawn, which he wields in her defense. That interplay imparts disarming poignancy to "Tyrannosaur": two wounded people who, on the surface, couldn't seem more different, but, as layers are shed, reveal themselves to be fractured reflections of each other. The film's success comes from the delicate chemistry between Colman and Mullan, and the duo lift their characters above easy-target archetypes—the battered wife, the warpath oaf—by adeptly making you feel the history of their pain. Colman, in particular, is astonishing: a paradox of a woman wide-eyed with spiritual generosity, yet slowly corrupted from within by demons she holds at bay. As her sadistic husband humiliates and assaults her with increasing intensity, you begin to wonder if it's really Hannah who's at risk here. As a director, Considine roars onto the field with this auspicious feature-length debut, which hints at promising things to come.
Did you know? The short that "Tyrannosaur" is based on, "Dog Altogether," won Considine the Best Short Film award at 2007 Venice Film Festival. For this full-length version, Considine has reassembled most of the original cast, including Mullan and Colman.
Movie theaters and showtimes for Tyrannosaur in Louisville.
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