Tyrannosaur (UK - BD RB)
Marcus digs Paddy Considine's directorial debut that isn't about dinos
Joseph (Peter Mullan), an unemployed widower with regular outbursts of rage befriends charity shop worker Hannah (Olivia Colman). Discovering Hannah's husband regularly beats Hannah up, Joseph take her into his home until she finds her feet but with Joseph struggling to hold in his anger at the world around him, he might not be the help Hannah needs.
Paddy Considine is an actor whose work I am a big fan of. All of his roles, whether comedic or dramatic have been pretty fantastic and there's nothing I like more than when an actor I like takes the step into directing and it works this well. With the story also written by Considine (is there anything this man can't do?), we receive a fully realised drama with absolutely pitch perfect dialogue and characters that come with a whole lot of weight.
Peter Mullan's lead performance is a full on nasty man in a film with its fair share of nasty men. 'Joseph' is immediately presented as a force to be reckoned with. A man full of venom with his words and enough clout to back it up with his actions. We are not meant to like this man at all but through the course of the film he becomes Hannah's protector of sorts and along with the watchful eye he keeps on his young neighbour and the boy's pitbull loving stepfather, Joseph's view of the world and his actions towards it almost become the only way to go.
For those who have seen the trailer, there's a distinct mood that this film is about violence and of course it is but how the responses to these violent acts are handled is extremely human. Olivia Coleman's performance is at times absolutely mesmerising especially in the small moments involving her abusive husband and the growth of Joesph through the movie has moments of pure genius from Peter Mullan. These are two very, very strong performances for two characters who have a devastating realism to them.
Of course it helps having great actors but it's also the screenplay that elevates the story even more. It's well structured, it hits all the right nerves, even with the fairly well trodden plot and in all the right moments the dialogue can be tender or devastating or both. You can see Considine knows his cast and there's a real sense that he knows the story he's out to tell. The UK film scene has quite a reputation for these story next door tales of downtrodden suburban life but Tyrannosaur gets everything right and Considine's steady hand behind the camera shows what British filmaking can provide at its best.
Tyrannosaur comes with a crisp modern looking presentation, with rich detail and natural lighting. Colours are generally darker in tone and blacks are always inky but that doesn't make the film a dark affair. Natural lighting gives everything a nice look and it really sells the textures but despite the Britishness of the movie, it's incredibly cinematic and very pleasing to look at.
Peter Mullan's wrinkled, stubbled face in close up looks incredibly textured as does much of the clothing and settings in the film. Skin tones are slightly bronzed, a trait Britsh films tend to avoid, and colours within the drab home-lives of the characters are strong even with the darker pallette. Tyrannosaur really does a fine job of walking the line between presenting visuals of everyday Britain and still managing to look like a film and a very nice looking one at that.
Tyrannosaur is a largely quiet film with small moments of atmospheric music as well as stronger score elements from time to time. There's good, strong dialogue with a bit of ambience underpinning the uneasy feeling throughout and the growl in Peter Mullan's voice adds so much more power to his abusive dialogue it's hard not to be impressed with the Scottish gravel in his words. Most of the the time dialogue is the strongest element in the mix with backgrounds taking a backseat as a distant ambience to fill out scenes in the street or pub. The short nightclub scene offers up more bass and pounding music, as well as multilayered drinkers filing everything out. The track is subtle one but it's an effective one for the mood of the film.
The disc opens with trailers for Carnage, Awakening and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The audio commentary with writer/director Paddy Considine and producer Diarmid Scrimshaw is strongly led by Considine and he gives a good insight into his story and the making of the film (as well as a few chuckles). We begin with a brief history of the short film and how it developed into a feature. We’re led through his characters with a real depth and Considine shows a real admiration for the performances and how the characters developed to how we see them on screen. To make the track even better, Considine airs a lot of passion for what he didn't want his movie to do. How he seemed to be striving for honesty in many of his scenes and how there was no room for the old clichés. This track really is a fine companion to the film and a real show of Considine’s attention to small crucial moments to sell his story as well as his love of cinema and storytelling. This is a very strong track and by far one of the best I've heard in a good while. It really is well worth a listen.
'Dog Altogether' (16:34 HD) is the short film Considine made a while back (2007)and it’s essentially a short film version of Tyrannosaur. Much like the first half of the full length film the focus is on Joseph and the beats are essentially the same up until he meets Hannah in the charity shop.
The deleted scenes (11:40 HD) have optional commentary from Considine and he gives a great bit of insight into his cuts and discusses what worked in the short film and doesn’t in the feature length.
The stills gallery is pretty standard stuff with no score to accompany the images and wrapping up is the trailer (01:58 HD).
Tyrannosaur was every bit as good as I hoped it would be and probably even better than that, placing high in my favourite films of 2011 (despite only actually seeing it now). This is a well structured drama that was quite reminiscent of what Shane Meadows has been achieving with his ever growing This is England series, in that there seems to be a new wave of British filmakers that are taking the tried and tested and giving them a much needed modern edge. The disc looks and sound great and with the absolutely fantastic commentary and original short film this is an all round great package for a great film.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 7th February 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio, LPCM 2.0 Stereo, Audio Description English
Extras: Commentary, Short Film, Deleted Scenes, Stills Gallery, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Paddy Considine
Cast: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan
Length: 93 minutes
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