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article imageOp-Ed: 'Tyrannosaur' rattles audiences to the bone

By Sarah Gopaul     Jan 27, 2012 in Entertainment
'Tyrannosaur' is a quality independent film from the U.K. that delves deep into bleak life circumstances in search of release.
Redemption, salvation, forgiveness – these things can be difficult to obtain, but every minute the seeker lives without just one of them can be torture. On the other hand, grasping for courage to effect a necessary change can cause someone to latch onto the first thing that even remotely resembles support. Tyrannosaur revolves around people looking for several of these things.
Joseph (Peter Mullan) is filled with a violent rage that he inflicts on anyone who happens to venture into his path. However, when he corners a frightened teenager who doesn't understand why he's about to become Joseph's victim, something clicks and he lets the boy go free. He then takes shelter in a used clothing store run by Hannah (Olivia Colman), who shows Joseph a kindness to which he's no longer accustomed. But Hannah has her own problems, married to a vicious and abusive man (Eddie Marsan) who she is too afraid to leave. In each other, however inelegantly, they find what they are searching for.
This is a difficult film to watch as the characters struggle with their positions on either end of the victim spectrum. Joseph appears naturally brutal despite the occasional glimmer of humanity that breaks through his hardened exterior, such as his devotion to his dying friend. His spontaneous eruptions of violence are also quite upsetting. In contrast, Hannah's victimization at the hands of her husband is disturbing in its cruelty and her powerlessness as he commits indescribable acts without fear of repercussion. Her apparent acceptance of circumstances is also frustrating. It's impossible to identify with either of the main characters because their situations are so off-putting. But this distinction is also a tribute to their incredible performances.
Mullan is curmudgeonly and crass with a mean streak with which no one wants to toy. However, there are also moments of compassion that he brings to the character in a manner that’s believable and compatible with his callousness. Colman is generally sympathetic, attempting to take solace in her belief in God; though she aptly borders on pathetic on many occasions. Marsan is disgusting in a way that is quite unsettling as he commits his offenses with such composure.
Writer/director Paddy Considine shot the short Dog Altogether featuring the same characters in 2007, then reunited with the cast for the feature in 2011. This is Considine’s feature-length directorial debut and he keeps it relatively simple, allowing the actors to drive the emotion in his script rather than employ external techniques. It’s very dark, both visibly and narratively, which fits the subject matter perfectly. Considine also proves unafraid of going against a general movie taboo – killing a dog.
Director: Paddy Considine
Starring: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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