A powerful portrait of anger, loneliness, and intimidation, Tyrannosaur is a distinctively rough-edged British gem. Focusing on a select group of characters situated on the grubby corners of society, there’s an undoubted ugliness to the movie, but it’s handled in such a way by first-time feature director Paddy Constantine (who you may recognize from Hot Fuzz as the petulant cop twins) that you cannot help but become completely wrapped up within its story.
Peter Mullan plays Joseph – a perpetually angry widower whose whole life revolves around meaningless violence. One day Joseph takes refuge in a charity shop owned by Hannah (Olivia Colman), and an enthralling relationship develops between them that anchors the entire movie.
The two are immediately conveyed as being polar opposites, with Joseph’s gruff, throaty, rattling voice rubbing uneasily against the timid, quiet persona of the deeply religious Hannah. Yet the two are drawn to one another, and when it is revealed that Hannah is being exposed to vicious and horrid abuse at the hands of her husband, Joseph’s deep-seated anger threatens to go overboard.
Dark, dour, and at times very difficult to watch, Tyrannosaur is nonetheless a superb British drama containing some spectacular work by all of the performers involved.
Just don’t expect a truly happy ending. Right from the off, Tyrannosaur tells us that’s something that just isn’t going to happen in this world.