Paddy Considine will be familiar to Irish audiences mainly as an actor; most notably in Dead Man’s Shoes and A Room for Romeo Brass, directed by his friend Shane Meadows, and for his role as a lecherous, self-styled self-help guru in Richard Ayoade’s 2010 debut, Submarine. Tyrannosaur is his directorial debut.
Considine has elicited outstanding performances from Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, My Name is Joe, NEDS) and Olivia Colman (Hot Fuzz, Peep Show) in the lead roles. Mullan plays Joseph, a violent, middle-aged, working-class widower who, when he’s not getting into fistfights or harassing local shopkeepers, spends his days between the bar and the bookies. Olivia Colman (better known for her comedic Television roles) is a revelation as Hannah, a married Christian woman who drinks on the quiet, and who volunteers in the local charity shop, where she first runs into Joseph. Both are unhappy in their lives and come to form a friendship of sorts, albeit one that begins with Joseph berating her for her religious beliefs, and what he perceives to be her smug, middle-class lifestyle.
Considine has described his film as a love story, but if it is, it’s a love story that is imbued with its lead characters’ attributes – violence, self-loathing, despair and desperation. The two leads find themselves at sea in a brutal, unloving, untrustworthy world, with only the other to keep them from finally going under. The grimness is leavened, from time to time, by slivers of black humour; mainly in the form of Joseph’s Irish drinking buddy Tommy (Ned Dennehy), and Considine allows his characters some hope and redemption by the end of the final act.
Tyrannosaur is not an easy film to watch; but it is genuinely powerful, moving and at times unbearably poignant. It is an incredibly confident and assured debut and despite production problems with finance, proves that hope, and a great story, can win out in the end.
Tyrannosaur opens at the Irish Film Institute on Friday, October 7.
You can watch the trailer below