Paddy Considine's directorial debut is a knockabout farce that's sure to put a smile on your face! Not.


4 stars



Director: Paddy Considine

Starring: Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan



Despite their proximity to the film making process, good actors do not always make good directors. From Marlon Brando to Jack Nicholson through to Johnny Depp to Tim Roth, the history of cinema is filled with endless curios made by actors who felt that they could step behind the camera.


Some, like Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter, are masterpieces that simply failed to find an audience at the time. However, most are simply poorly executed offerings from people who really should stick to the other side of the lens.


Of course, for every Brando and Depp there's an equally successful George Clooney, Kenneth Branagh and Jon Favreau to disprove that rule. And that's before we even consider the the more independent leaning actor/directors such as Orson Welles, John Cassavettes and Steve Buscemi.



Which brings us to Paddy Considine's directorial debut, Tyrannosaur.


A friend and collaborator of director Shane Meadows, perhaps unsurprisingly Considine's film ploughs similar terrain to the Nottingham filmmakers work and places itself firmly within the parochial setting of the English kitchen sink drama.


Tyrannosaur follows the story of Joseph (Peter Mullan), a widowed, alcoholic prone to uncontrolled bouts of rage and violence. After killing his dog in a fit of pique, the tormented Joseph washes up inside the charity shop where Christian volunteer, Hannah (Olivia Colman) works.


Developing an awkward, spiky relationship, Joseph and Hannah soon become interwoven into each others lives, even more so after Hannah's abusive relationship with her husband James (Eddie Marsan) comes to light.



As you'd expect from an actor of Considine's consummate class he manages to garner superb performances from both of his lead actors.


Peter Mullan delivers the more obviously showy performance, with Joseph's bursts of splenetic violence (both physical and verbal) giving way to heart breaking moments of humanity with nary a stitch dropped.


That said, and as good as Mullan is (and he is superb), the stand out performer in the film is Olivia Colman. Coming off the back of her scene stealing turn in the Paul Abbot series Exile, Colman gives a fabulously subtle, sad and angry performance as Hannah and cements her status as one the finest performers currently working in British film and TV.


Despite the success of the two leads, the one bum note in the film comes in the form of Eddie Marsan as James. His character is a far less well defined than the others and lacks the depth and shading of both Joseph and Hannah.



Unfortunately, Marsan's performance doesn't help as it manages to be both too broad and overly mannered and doesn't sit comfortably alongside the stellar work of the rest of the cast.


This small misstep apart, Considine's debut feature is an impressive piece of work, which eschews cliché, maintains a tight dramatic focus and avoids any mawkish lapses into sentimentality, despite its redemptive conclusion.


Lacking the style of directors such as Meadows, Ken Loach or Alan Clarke, Considine more than makes up for that with an intensity and eye for detail that hints that maybe the best is yet to come from Burton-On-Trent's finest export.


James Peaty




Trailer. Below. See.



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