British actor Paddy Considine’s debut as writer/director is a tale of the grumpiest of old men who sets off on a much-needed road to redemption with the help of a kind Christian woman. The synopsis may sound schmaltzy, but Tyrannosaur is actually an unforgivably brutal character study by way of street fights, vandalism, and animal abuse. Set in gloomy Leeds, Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a rough and tumble old geezer with a foul mouth and a penchant for getting beat up. His self-destructive habits lead him to the doorstep of a Christian charity shop where he meets and starts an awkward friendship with Hannah (Peep Show‘s Olivia Colman), a seemingly well-adjusted spiritualist. It turns out that behind the doors of Hannah’s suburban home lies the most abusive of husbands (the great and in this case frightening Eddie Marsan), which doesn’t sit well with Joseph who is already constantly dealing with the vicious dog-owning thug from across the street. The film takes on the feel of a small-scale Death Wish (or, perhaps more appropriate, Harry Brown) whenever Joseph reaches his breaking point, but these scenes somehow fee natural if not justified. Considine has crafted a rewarding creation of friendship and hope, which, unlike most films this year, stays with the viewer long after the end credits.
Tyrannosaur opens today at Lansdowne’s CInema 16:9.