Directed by Paddy Considine.
Starring Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan.
A man whose life is spiralling out of control is given a chance at redemption when he meets a Christian charity shop worker.
The feature debut from British actor Paddy Considine (Dead Man's Shoes, Hot Fuzz), Tyrannosaur has been earning a host of plaudits since its premiere at Sundance last year and now comes to DVD and Blu-ray following a limited theatrical release in the UK last October. A bleak and gritty slice of social drama, Tyrannosaur is remeniscent of the work of filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Considine's long-time friend Shane Meadows, and is a superbly assured debut for its writer-director.
An extension of Considine's 2007 short Dog Altogether (which is also included as a special feature), Tyrannosaur centres on Joseph (Peter Mullan), a middle-aged, alcoholic widower whose life is consumed by wanton violence and anger. During the first ten minutes of the film, Joseph kills his beloved pet dog in a fit of rage, smashes the window of his local post office and assualts a group of youths in his local pub. However, before he can slip any further down this path of self-destruction, Joseph meets Hannah (Olivia Colman), a kind-hearted charity shop owner who appears to offer him a chance at salvation. At first, Joseph spurns Hannah's attempts to play the Good Samaritan, but as the two spark up a friendship, we come to discover that Hannah has her own issues - namely, that she is stuck in an abusive relationship with her vile and sadistic husband James (Eddie Marsan) - and it soon becomes apparent that Joseph is not the only one looking to get his life back on track.
While Considine's writing and direction is first-rate throughout, the true highlight of the film is the wonderful performances he draws from his cast. With a C.V. that includes such films as of Trainspotting, My Name is Joe and Neds (for which he also served as director), the ever-reliable Peter Mullan is of course in familiar territory as Joseph, but the real surprise is the fantastic turn from Olivia Colman, best known for her role in the Channel 4 comedy series Peep Show. As Hannah, Colman delivers a stunning performance that really demonstrates her range and ability as an actress and it comes as a surprise that BAFTA failed to recognise her work with a nomination at the British Academy Film Awards, especially with Tilda Swinton getting a nod for essentially pulling the same face for the best part of two hours in We Need to Talk About Kevin.
While it doesn't quite reach the same levels of brutality as Nil by Mouth, Tyrannosaur is certainly an uncomfortable film to watch at times; however, as with Gary Oldman's aforementioned 1997 directorial debut, it is also a powerful and affecting drama that demands to be seen - not to mention a film that firmly establishes Paddy Considine as a real talent to watch out for behind the camera.