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This is Paddy Considine's directorial debut and for me that in itself made it worth watching, also I had heard some good reviews about it and had been told it was very powerful, thought provoking and dark, all of which I liked the sound of.
SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT!..........
The film didn't disappoint, from the word go it was very intense. I can watch pretty much anything and be fine but the first 2 minutes oif the film were very uncomfortable for me to watch, as the main character (Joseph), a man who is struggling with violence and living on a rough estate, kicks his dog to death. Anything can happen to people in films and I'm fine but if it's an animal, even though I KNOW it isn't real, I just can't cope! It is a very distressing opening scene.
From there the film follows Joseph as he meets a christian woman, Heather, in a charity shop and tries to turn a corner in his life. Heather however has her own dark secrets, living with her controlling and violent husband and Joseph struggles to deal with her issues as well as his own.
The acting is just perfect and the cinematography is brilliant. It is - unfortunately - a very real depiction of life, love, violence, friendships and anger. Aside from the disturbing dog related scenes (of which there are two) there are other potentially upsetting scenes of rape and brutal violence, so this film may not suit everyone. However, it is a fantastic film and is certainly very powerful, the violence and upsetting scenes are there for a reason and it will stay with you long after the credits roll.
When I purchased this film I knew nothing about it apart from it was about dinosours and was directed by Paddy Considine one of my favourate British actors, if you havent seen him before I would recommend watching "Dead Mans Shoes" or "A Room For Romeo Brass" both great films.
Firstly there are no dinosours so the title and cover are a bit misleading.
This film is hard hitting and very sad at points with a sprinkle of humour thrown in aswel.
Unlike Horror movies the monsters in this film are sad little men who make other peoples life unbearable, The main characters are played by Peter Mullan and Olivia Coleman, both of which put in tremendous perfomances making this film very believable, Peter Mullan's character goes around being nasty to everyone he meets until he meets up with a religous woman working in a charity shop and strikes up an unusual freindship with.
This film is about the horrors in some peoples lives that a lot of people know goes on but would rather pretend it doesn't. some scenes are very upsetting be prepaired for a roller coaster of emotions as the real life of your neighbour, friend or mabie even family member gets brought to life in your living room.
Marital abuse, relationships, religion, substance abuse and the meaning of altruism are all topics explored in this film. Starring the fantastic Olivia Colman, I was recommended this film by my boyfriend and so ordered it to rent off www.blockbuster.co.uk.
--Value for money--
As I pay a flat rate of £9.99 a month for all my DVD rentals, it was great value for money, coming to about that if you buy the DVD individually in the shop. I prefer to buy DVDs like this, as DVDs are often expensive if you buy them brand new.
Overall well worth a watch. Olivia Colman is fantastic and the film is both touching and thought provoking as the film takes us through a period of turbulence in the lives of an alcoholic and an unhappily married charity shop worker. This unlikely pair form a friendship following unusual circumstances.
If you, like me, enjoy thought provoking films with an interesting storyline and exploration into humanity, get this film for an enlightening perspective on the difficulties that some of us will face in our lives.
I found the film very easy to imagine being a real life situation, none of it is fantastical or made up, and I would imagine the writer drew inspiration from close hand personal experience in order to get the details that this film has.
I would give this film five stars, I watched it on my own at home on our laptop and it actually made me cry as it was such an emotional rollercoaster for the characters. You can tell it's a good film when you can't tell how long it's been on for, and don't care how long 'til it finishes! This was one of those gems.
Tyrannosaur is a 2011 film set somewhere on the Midlands, though was filmed in Leeds, it is based on a tough council estate where poverty and social deprivation are endemic and violence a constant. The film centres on the actions of a lonely widower named Joseph (Peter Mullan), who struggles with his temper and after kicking his beloved dog to death starts to suffer from depression. He needlessly sparks a fight in a pub and whilst on the run from his adversaries slip into Hannah's (Olivia Colman) charity shop. Hannah is trapped in a violent marriage but lives in a more affluent part of town, slowly the two become friends and through her actions Joseph's behaviour slowly improves.
The film plots Joseph's progress against Hannah's fall, her husband James (Eddie Marsan) abuse continues and escalates, finally the pair have a coming together and the end of the film covers the consequences of their actions.
This film is one of those films which lives with you long after the title credits have rolled and you have put the DVD away in the case, set in a grim unrelenting northern/midland city it shows life in the UK for the socially neglected. Here we enter the world of the unemployed, the drinkers, where dangerous dogs are everywhere and violence endemic, the slow pace of the film and Peter Mullan's slow and steady presence gives the film a close and claustrophobic feel. Mullan's presence fills the screen, he's lean, intense, taciturn and focused and this viewer had the sense that this film would have been the perfect vehicle for the sadly missed Pete Postlethwaite. That's taking nothing away from Mullan's complete performance as the man cut adrift from society, a lonely man who can't get out and away from the problems of his life and past history.
This film has direction and edge from the very first scene, and conveys hopelessness better than any film I've watched for many years, no need for lots of dialogue often the action is more focused and intense than any words can portray. The incidence which leads to Joseph hiding in Hannah's shop is almost without words except for a few exchanges with pool cues, then the silence and the scene where Hannah prays for Joseph was one of the most moving I've ever watched.
However, this film isn't about redemption it doesn't have a rose tinted Hollywood ending, indeed the ending is bloody and violent and appropriate for the rest of the film. We only escape the claustrophobia of the council estate at the very end of the film when for the only time in the film the sun comes out and we take a bus ride with Joseph but where too I'll not tell you. The ending is just that an ending, a last moment of one life of Joseph before he moves on and so do the viewers. This film has outstanding performances from Mullan, Colman and Marsan all of them in different ways give compelling engaging performances and makes this film one of the best released last year.
There are a few sub-plots to keep the story bubbling along, dangerous dogs, dying friends, and they are all employed to place Joseph's emotional journey from the shattered man to a better place, better in his perspective anyway. The directing is to focus on the actors; there is little camera music and very little music, all adding to the feeling of paranoia and claustrophobia. This is a very fine film and well worth watching but not with the kids I'd suggest.
Star - Peter Mullan
Certificate - 18
Genre - Drama
Country - British
Run Time - 92 minutes
Awards - One BAFTA
Rental - £3.00 per night@Blockbuster
Marital abuse, the subject of this gritty new British drama from director Paddy Considine (Dead Mans Shoes), is in the news right now after Dennis Waterman made a rather rash comment or two that he felt the need to give his wife Rula Lenska a slap or two because she was a 'strong articulated and intelligent woman and had to have her say'. The feminist were up in arms and tried to label him a wife beater, fair enough, whilst those same strong and articulated and intelligent women writing for the broadsheets were surprisingly ambiguous on where their support lay in the Waterman marriage. The suggestion was that some wives and partners that are smarter than their husbands want their men to wear the trousers and so intimidate them into giving them a whack or two to regain the authority they were attracted to in the first place. I am presuming part of Rula's attraction to Waterman was the TV macho man side. In Waterman's case he was a drunk and the marriage seemed over when the abuse began but I do believe women do have a perverse streak and far more complex than men when it comes to demanding love and affection. I think that once one-half pities the other in a relationship you will get one lashing out in some way in frustration. We hit people we dispise, not love. I don't think marriages work unless the woman looks up to the man in some way. Love is about a man protecting a woman, right? I have certainly dated women that entice arguments in the pursuit of some sort of response. I would certainly never hit any woman as I wouldn't let it reach that stage.
Consadine's angle is classic abuse, the feeble husband mentally and physically abusing a woman for control reasons - you are my property and you don't disrespect me by talking to other man or going out alone etc. It's cruel and demeaning and what all men who don't practice it detest and everyman reading this would want to hit any man who did that. The director also adds religion and external violence from a third party to the mix to hem in our main female protagonist even more and push the point that its fear and compromise that controls most people's lives and not emancipation and equality. We saw that this week when everyone rushed out and bought petrol because a manipulative government told them to, hyping the threatened strike to control the news agenda to detract from the Tory budget mare and corruption funding woes, cleverly dumping them back on Labours biggest funder, the union UNITE, blamed for rabblerousing the potential tanker strike, quite brilliant politics if the truth be told. Fear always controls because the creator of it can always offer a cure if you behave, as is often the case in abusive relationships.
Peter Mullan ... Joseph
Olivia Colman ... Hannah
Eddie Marsan ... James
Paul Popplewell ... Bod
Ned Dennehy ... Tommy
Samuel Bottomley ... Samuel
On a grim northern housing estate we meet middle-class Hannah (Olivia Colman from 'Rev'), who spends her days working in a Christian charity shop to escape her abusive husband James (Eddie Marsan), a cowardly weasel of a man who we see urinate on his wife to wake her on the sofa after a glass or two or three to escape her torment in the family home. But another even more violet man is about to come into her life, ironically for the better, rough and ready Joseph (Peter Mullan), a 55-year old boozy Scot, staggering into her charity shop and hiding behind a rack of coats for no particular reason after getting a good kicking from a group of young lads after a fight in a pub he started. Hannah decides to try to covert him to God there and then, of which brings him to tears, the start of an illogical bond between them as they find a rare solace in each others company as they meet day after day in the shop.
Joseph, like Hannah's husband, lives a life of self hate and inflicts that hate on those around him through threats and physical violence to get what he needs in life, which is space and peace and quiet, his dog the latest to feel his wrath when it barks and howls too much and so he kicks it to death in a drunken stooper.
Converting her husband to God - or so she believes - hasn't stopped the abuse at home and when she turns up for work with a black eye Joseph feels he should repay her kindness and tolerance by beating her husband up. But that will bring consequences for Hannah and she has nowhere to go, the real power James has over here. But when she finally cracks and flees to Joseph's couch she decides in her mind she can take no more and ready to fight back, with or without Jesus.
British working-class 'Miserabilism' or not, Paddy Considine's mood piece is pretty powerful stuff, getting to the heart of what marital abuse is. Control! The husband pays the bills and so expects sex and loyalty in return and a woman feels trapped because she can't support herself if she leaves with the kids when she is abused. It's interesting to note that when the government increased offences and prison sentence against violent men in the home to protect abused women the prosecution rate actually fell as more husbands and partners would have to go to jail and so houses would be lost and rent going unpaid if women did report them to the police. Call me a cynic but that was the point of the policy change so to save on legal aid?
The striking use of dark humour here on such a vile crime is to the director's credit and, rather ironically, the biggest laughs to be had are at a funeral in the film. It's the type of movie. One or two of the scenes are distressing though.
Considine's inspiration for the film was growing up on the same sort of streets and council homes in his native Nottinghamshire, although he claims it's not autobiographical and there was definitely no abuse in the Considine family home. Olivia Williams is cast well and really does have it spot on as the bullied wife, always making you feel for helpless women in her position and you're willing her on throughout the movie to hit back. Sadly, for a man in her position, if he hits back he goes to jail and looses the house, the female lawyers only too keen to remind female clients of that possibility, another perversity of the law and female kind. If only it was as simple as all men are bastards.
The acting is excellent and Olivia Williams and Peter Mullen under recognized in their trade, perhaps because they are not conventionally attractive or seen in the right roles. Kiera Knightly is a talentless bean pole yet she makes twenty times what Olivia makes per movie. Mullen, like Considine, was the original angry young man from Scotland and ran with the Glasgow gangs, explored in the rather excellent film he wrote and directed called NEDs. He's' a man's man and really taps into the quiet desperation all men live with through his screen performances. Think Yosser Hughes meets Rab C Nesbitt and your in the right ballpark. He also steels one or two scenes from Dead Mans Shoes, of which fans of that superb movie will nod their head to here.
This is a very adult movie and if you have or are experiencing marital violence then don't watch this as you won't be able to take it. Instead, pick up the phone and make that call as your situation will only get worse.
Imdb.com - 7.6/10/0 (5,764 votes)
Metacritic.com - 65% critics approval rating
Rottentomtos.com - 82% critics approval rating
The Village Voice - "This isn't the kind of movie that even has hope enough to contain a message. There is no message, only the reality of these wounded personalities".
The Independent -"Tyrannosaur is British miserabilism at its most numbingly brutal and blunt".
The NY Post - "It sounds like an exercise in miserabilism, but Considine extracts black comedy, compassion, and dignity from his downtrodden characters and their blighted setting.
The Washington post -Mullan and Colman are the anchors of the film's scary, tightly wound world, in which everyone's spring is dangerously close to being sprung.
The Chicago Tribune - "Don't be afraid of the movie's grim facade: this is an uplifting journey worth taking".
-------The Special Features--------
A short film that this film was built around is available to see on the disc.
In the 'Set Up' option there is an audio commentary by the director.