Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Film Review | Tyrannosaur (2011)

Paddy Considine the actor has attempted a diapason of roles, from revenge-consumed former soldier Richard in Dead Man's Shoes to one half of the "Andys", the detective double act seen in Hot Fuzz. Considine the director opted very much for a bleak and heavily realistic tone closer to his dramatic work with Shane Meadows for his feature debut. It's one decision of many which make Tyrannosaur surely one of the strongest inaugural works seen from any director in some time.

Considine's film is confident and mature showing an understanding for the director's craft that perhaps even surpasses his acting ability, with shot after shot crafted expertly and presenting the bleak and angry version of Britain Considine clearly wants us to see. It's hard to place Tyrannosaur geographically to one place: despite being filmed in Yorkshire there's very little to tie the film to that part of the country, and many of the actors perform using their natural accents making things even less clear. It's a clever choice from Considine as director, giving the film's message about the nature of humanity a feel of universality.

The film's strongest element alongside the direction of Considine is in its cast. Peter Mullan's performance as anger-infused alcoholic widower Joseph is incredibly powerful, creating an enigmatic anti-hero by turns both inspiring and repulsive. Olivia Colman opposite him as Hannah is quite simply extraordinary in a demanding role, delivering incredible raw emotion throughout. Completing the trifecta is Eddie Marsan as Hannah's husband James creating surely one of the most loathsome male characters seen on screen for some time through an unsettlingly authentic turn.

Considine's choice to make his film relentlessly bleak and unforgiving allows the director to produce some incredibly effective and hard-hitting drama, but it's also the main factor that holds the film back from perfection. Watching Tyrannosaur could never be accurately described as enjoyable. It's a film to appreciate, admire and applaud, but its persistently harrowing nature does make it hard viewing at times. When the lightest and most upbeat moments of a film happen during a funeral and wake, you know you're in for a punishing cinematic experience. Occasionally too Considine threatens to allow the brutality of Tyrannosaur's world to overflow into the ludicrous; it never happens, but the film teeters on the brink once or twice.

If you can take Tyrannosaur's perpetually angry and savage perspective, this is a film which will reward you with some of the finest contemporary British cinema you're likely to experience. It forms an astounding debut for Considine as a director, and will leave you excited for the actor's next venture behind the camera.


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