From about a minute into the film, Considine’s TYRANNOSAUR grabs you by the throat and never lets go.
We follow Joseph, played by Scott thesp stalwart Peter Mullan, as he leaves a bar in a rage. Taking out his frustration on the first thing he can (the dog chained to his arm), we’re immediately disgusted by the barbaric behaviour. Yet this is no simple parable, the regret of the intoxicated outburst is genuine, we’re granted a character that would be far too easy to pigeonhole in a conventional mainstream film.
When Joseph enters the shop of Hanna to seek some refuge (Olivia Colman in another fascinating role), he finds a religious woman with her own baggage of violence and despair. Together the two neither manage to fix nor placate one another, yet the story unfolds with such unflinching honesty that the heightened brutality takes on an almost mythic quality. This balance between stark realism and a sense of a timeless moral tale, incorporating bursts of real tenderness and shocking violence, makes for a wrenching experience indeed.
It’s pretty impossible to say one enjoys a film like TYRANNOSAUR, but it’s equally impossible to ignore the craft of those who made it, the exceptional performances of the entire ensemble (anchored by the two leads), and what proves to be a stunning debut from Considine. It’s all the more compelling that the director has chosen to use key acctors that often play comedic or broad roles, making their turns in this work all the more groundbreaking.
With Joseph, Mullan has the role of his career, one of those epic film characters that transcend the work they’re attached to. Considine demonstrates his remarkable chops, and while the film may not be for the squeamish, it’s certainly one of the best and most memorable films of this season.