Film review: TYRANNOSAUR from Built For Speed

Don’t take the kids to this one.  Tyrannosaur has nothing to do with dinosaurs or special effects, this is a brutal English working class drama about domestic violence and pathological self-loathing.  This depressing yet utterly engrossing story may even beat Snow Town for its depiction of dysfunctional, disenfranchised people.

Go-to guy for intense middle-aged hard men, Peter Mullan plays Joseph a man reminiscent of Jake the Muss from Once were Warriors.  A seething, angry, violent drunk he spends his days bugling pints and fighting local chavs.  His life takes a sudden turn, though, when he meets kindly charity worker Hannah (Olivia Colman).  At first he’s as obnoxious to her as he is to everyone else but he’s forced to adopt a very unfamiliar role as protector when he discovers she is the victim of domestic violence from her deranged husband (Eddie Marsan).

Writer and first time director Paddy Considine delivers a knockout blow with this film thanks largely to a smart honest script that, despite a familiar setting, avoids cliché and easy resolutions.

The film is not only impressive for its uncompromising blast of reality but also for its cinematic qualities.  While this is low key, low-budget cinema it still contains some striking shots of the council house war zone where Joseph lives.

This unrelentingly grim film could have been an indulgent wallow in misery but superb performances from Mullan and particularly Colman make it one of the most potent dramas of recent times.

The film is not without its problems though.  Considine, leaves a few plot holes where Joseph seems to get away with appalling acts of violence and the script doesn’t adequately explain why Joseph came to be the sad, destructive person that he is.

The odd misstep, however, does little to diminish the effect of this powerful and confronting film.

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