In a nutshell: Violence, heartache…redemption

Popcorn rating: 5/5

Actor Paddy Considine gave one of the most brutal and unflinching performances in recent times as a brother seeking his own brand of justice in Dead Man’s Shoes. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the Burton-on-Trent man has created a similarly raw and uncompromising film for his first stint as director.

Put simply Tyrannosaur is incredible.

It tells the story of Joseph (Peter Mullan), a middle-aged, working class man who lives in a rough council estate in Leeds. He is plagued with anger issues, prone to violence and has alienated everyone around him – he is desperate to become a better person. Joseph also has a skewed sense of honour and justice and, powerless in other ways, his automatic reaction to everything is with a clenched fist.

It is in the aftermath of yet another fight that he meets Hannah (Olivia Colman), a Christian working in a charity shop. He takes refuge in the store to calm down and when Hannah starts to pray for him as he hides behind a coat rail, it is bizarre yet incredibly powerful. An unlikely friendship develops, with Joseph assuming Hannah has an easy life as she lives in the posh end of town. But the pair are both confronting demons, although from different sides of the track.

Hannah clings onto her faith despite the misery of a severely abusive husband (Eddie Marsan) and that’s what gets the plot rolling. The quiet dignity of Hannah’s suffering is heartbreaking and it is agonising watching Joseph’s inner turmoil. He flinches when people come near him and trembles with rage when confronted.

Tyrannosaur shows a new director with incredible promise for the future, but that’s not to overlook a cast who are all on excellent form, particularly the stars Mullan and Colman. One of my favourite films of the year so far, it won’t be for everyone – it’s gritty, violent and upsetting, yet is also absorbing and moving in equal measures with an ending which is sad but also, somehow, redemptive.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

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