Friday, 3 February 2012

Tyrannosaur with Q&A with Director and lead

This film is not the faint-hearted. It's gritty realism, sensitive Direction and powerful acting performances enable it to transcend the self-indulgent social-psycho-drama it might otherwise have been. It is bleak and unrelenting as it charts the lives of two people dealing with their own demons and looking for escape.

Joseph (Peter Mullan) has been widowed for five years and lives a solitary life on a bleak housing estate. He is unemployed, drinks too much and has a violent temper on a very short fuse. He has a highly developed sense of right and wrong and is able to read people like a seasoned psychologist. Joseph's world is available for all to see - what you see is what you get and there is the feeling that little if anything is hidden. His rage and violence eat away at him and constantly undermine his attempts to conquer them. He has hardened himself into a world of black and white - lacking in grey, and lacking the ability to demonstrate empathy in any real way.

Hannah (Olivia Colman) - whose performance is a tour-de-force - hides her interior world and presents the persona of a well-meaning, empathetic and sincere committed Christian who runs a charity shop on the estate where Joseph lives. In reality, her husband James (Eddie Marsan) has such deep-rooted insecurities that he systematically abuses Hannah sexually and in other violent ways. This is the part of Hannah's life that she hides from everyone - that is until one day she appears with a black eye and shortly afterwards with two black eyes.

In trying to escape his own demons, Joseph runs by chance into Hannah's shop where their unarticulated neediness establishes a common-bond. As the story develops, there are an number of interesting side plots that add depth and colour to Joseph's back and white world. He is driven by a sense of duty, the need to exact retribution and guilt-inducing remorse because things might have been different. The one time he does manage self-restraint sees events turn horribly wrong for a neighbours son which only adds to Joseph's feelings of guilt.

This film is deftly Directed by Paddy Considine making his feature-length debut - he also wrote the screenplay. It is based on and developed from his earlier BAFTA winning short film Dog Altogether (2007). Considine is an established actor (Hot Fuzz, Bourne Ultimatum, Submarine) but there are sure to be more films coming from him as Director. This film is never predictable and has many twists and turns that unfold naturally. The characters are so real with both Mullan and Colman turning in stunning performances - particularly Colman. This film flopped at the box office - probably because of it's gritty subject-matter and 18 Certification. It comes out on Disc on Monday 6 February - I shall be adding it to my collection.

I saw this in a sell-out at The Prince Charles Cinema off London's Leicester Square last night and there was a short Q&A with Considine and Colman afterwards. After one or two good opening questions it turned into a love-in for the film industry darlings and ended with a scathing attack on the government's proposals for funding film production in the UK. This was the only disappointing aspect of the evening.

Well done Prince Charles for staging the event, well done Paddy Considine for conceiving and bringing to fruition such a rich, engaging and stimulatingly well told story and thanks to Olivia Colman (Mrs Vicarage in Rev on UK TV) for her sensitive portrayal of a victim of domestic and sexual abuse.

As I said, this is not for the faint-hearted but if you have a strong constitution and like engaging social drama with first class acting and direction - this is a must-see film. I'll give it 8/10.

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