Paddy Considine’s first feature-length Directorial debut is a well-crafted, bleak kitchen sink drama with a positive undertone of redemption and fresh starts.
Most renowned for her comedic turns in Peep Show, Olivia Colman is now finding success in a variety of challenging roles both at home and in the US. Arguably, out of all of her recent screen appearances, Tyrannosaur has played the biggest part in her achieving the global recognition she rightly deserves.
A stark contrast to the light-hearted fare she shares with David Mitchell and Robert Webb, Tyrannosaur asks of her to dig deep and convince us as a lonely Christian charity shop worker (Hannah) who is regularly abused by her unstable and malicious husband (Eddie Marsan).
It’s not hard to sympathise with Hannah – the abuse she suffers includes being urinated on, false accusations of adultery, rape, and even molestation with shards of glass. Considine (who also wrote the script) asks a lot from Colman, and she replies with a harrowingly convincing performance.
She shares the drama with Joseph (Peter Mullan), a blasphemous, alcoholic with social and anger issues, largely attributed to the death of his wife which he struggles to come to terms with.
These two troubled characters crash together – Joseph aggressively and Hannah passively, at first. Her Christian spirit tries to help and guide Joseph – that is until it is broken from the heightened abuse from her husband.
It is not long before Hannah’s instability and fragility need nursing, and the only person in the world she has to turn to is Joseph.
Tyrannosaur gives us a peek into the real life abuse, neglect and torture suffered by some the unheard voices of victims who, by misfortune or choice, have wandered down the wrong paths in life.
Paddy Considine’s first is reminiscent of Gary Oldman’s Directorial debut Nil By Mouth. It is a gritty drama about the neighbourhoods we all try to avoid, and the keyholes we would wince at looking through.