Monday, October 03, 2011


PCMR Verdict: Three brilliant performances underpin what is at times an uncomfortably intimate tale of a bond between two lost souls. It's hard-hitting and hardcore, but never exploitative. Stunningly, it's Considine's first film.

PCMR Rating: 7.5/10

When PCMR heard that Paddy Considine had gone and directed a feature film, interest was registered. Then, after seeing the trailer before Tinker Tailor last week, curiosity was aroused. (Careful now - Ed). But after learning that the man himself would be coming to the IFI to chat about the movie after a preview screening, well.. the camel's back and all that.

You see, since the heady days of Paddy Chayevsky (the Paddy C who penned the line "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more") there just aren't that many Paddy C's out there making movies. (I think he might be the only one - Ed) So I did feel obliged to show some support and be a bum in a seat. Solidarity. That's all I'm saying.

Well, not quite all, a few words about 'Tyrannnosaur' would be appropriate first I guess. Right, well, 'Tyrannosaur' is Paddy C's feature-length directorial debut, but it's based on his short film 'Dog Altogether' which won a BAFTA no less, so the boy's certainly got some chops. After the movie, it was no great surprise to learn however, that he started out in life as a photographer. He certainly retains the photographer's eye, as he really fills each frame.

In 'Tyrannosaur', Peter Mullan - who is so good in this, he should really have the official prefix 'the incredible' - plays Joseph, angry, working-class, and down on his luck. Joseph seems to eke out a kind of survival on his council estate, but is never too far from violence. Put it this way, in the opening scene of the movie he kills his own dog, and things go downhill from there for a while. (wow - Ed)

Olivia Colman, who you might recognise from the excellent BBC Series 'Peep Show' plays Hanna, a middle-class charity shop assistant, who has a comfortable life in the suburbs, and an apparently unshakeable religious faith. Their first meeting is fractious, but she offers to pray for him, and shows him some unquestioned warmth for what must be his first time in a while. Falteringly, their relationship starts to develop.

Until, that is, Hanna's husband James - played powerfully by Eddie Marsan - gets wind of things. Things get pretty hardcore for a while around this point, and suddenly the relationship between Hanna and Joseph becomes more essential for both of them.

This film is powerful, and not for the faint-hearted. Olivia Colman is surprisingly effective in what is really the lead role, and this is genuinely as far from Peep Show as you can get. Peter Mullan, too, is just awesome as the coiled spring who doesn't understand his own anger, but who somehow meets this woman at exactly the right moment in his life.

It's a love story, but not a traditional boy-meets-girl type of deal, oh dear lord no. Mullan and Coleman's real achievement is to effortlessly portray the growing bond between these two people that seems to be made of something more permanent, something that exists outside of the events in the movie. Considine said he wanted the two characters to be like old soldiers at the end of the movie, and in PCMR's humble view, he achieved that.

A gritty tale of domestic violence might not be up everyone's street, but I'd urge you to seek it out in the cinema if you can get an opportunity. 'Tyrannosaur' is tough viewing at times, but it is also beautiful and has real heart behind it. It's a good story, well played and well told, and is an sure-footed debut for Considine. Also, considering it was made for less than a million quid, your tenner will actually make an impact on its box-office, and hopefully mean that Paddy C will get another run at the director's chair.

In the Q&A after the screening, Paddy Considine had an entertaining little chat-cum-interview with Jim Sheridan, who appeared to have seen the movie for the first time. PCMR was a little over-awed to be in proximity to greatness, but certainly had the opportunity to notice that Sheridan seemed genuinely impressed with 'Tyrannosaur'. And let's be honest, who are we to argue with Jim Sheridan!?

'Tyrannosaur' is showing in the IFI this month, here's the trailer.

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