Paddy Considine’s directorial debut features an exceptional performance from Peter Mullan as a self-destructive alcoholic and a revelatory Olivia Colman as a charity shop worker stuck in an abusive marriage. Though the film operates within the configurations of late British social realism, the central performances convey a subtlety of humanity which eludes Considine on a formal level. Mullan, in particular, impresses as Joseph, a man whose life crumbles around him, both by circumstance and his own hand, but inside whom beats a human heart which craves goodness and redemption. An utterly grim narrative devoid of non-contingent hope is not the most pleasurable viewing experience, Tyrannosaur is a powerful but tonally inconsistent social drama, and a worthy addition to Britain’s bulging canon.
Words: Oisín Murphy