Based on Paddy Considine’s earlier Bafta-winning short film, Dog Altogether, Tyrannosaur builds upon the story which revolves around violent sociopath Joseph (Peter Mullan) and cheery yet beset charity shop worker Hannah (Olivia Colman.) The phrase “dog altogether” stems from an old Irish phrase used when things couldn’t get any worse and it’s apt for Tyrannasour too, which, at times, rampages and bludgeons like its namesake with Joseph batting a dog to death before the opening titles have even begun.
At first Hannah appears a beacon of hope when Joseph takes refuge in her shop, hiding from thugs he has offended. Their inchoate relationship is like a rusty syringe baptised with rose water; a bittersweet mix of tenderness and coarseness. Mullan is, as ever, dependable yet the showstopper is Colman. I really enjoyed her performances in PeepShow and also recently in Exile but was still stunned by the nuanced fragility found here. As the story progresses we are introduced to her confused and abusive husband (Eddie Marsan) who abuses her in unthinkable ways. Yet for all this hardship there remains the beating hearts of the characters who engage thoroughly and it’s perhaps down to Considine’s acting past that this is brought to the fore.
The film runs an emotional gauntlet…
The film’s core message that violence begets violence is hammered home with Colman’s fate and a coda involving another bout of Mullan’s canine savagery, this time done for altruistic reasons. The film runs an emotional gauntlet, through the recesses of human depravity before turning on a sixpence into soulfulness and genuine warmth.
Images courtesy of Tyrannosaur