For this movie, I had to rejig my normal routine, in order to visit my nearest independent cinema (and so I should, more often!). Tyrannosaur is another film co-sponsored by Screen Yorkshire and so is filmed fairly local to me (Seacroft in Leeds) so I would have wanted to support it even had the trailer not been astoundingly good and the early reviews very positive.
Joseph (Peter Mullan) is struggling to control his inner demons, regularly getting drunkenly violent, as he loses the last friends he has – both, in their own ways, in part or full down to his own behaviour. Joseph is that scary drunk you occasionally see, arguing violently with himself over his pint. Hannah (Olivia Colman) is the devout Christian who has come over to Joseph’s bleak estate to run a charity store, from her house in a very ‘comfortable’ area nearby. Joseph enters Hannah’s shop to hide from the world after a violent episode in a pub.
Hannah’s ‘do-gooder’ demeanour, particularly her desire to pray for him, is mocked by Joseph though they strike up an unlikely relationship, in clumsy stages, under the threat of Joseph’s dangerous neighbours and Hannah’s despicable and violent husband, James (a wonderfully creepy turn from Eddie Marsan). Right from his introduction, we see that James is a bad’un and he doesn’t improve on better acquaintance. Hannah’s world is perhaps more terrifying than Joseph’s with the threat of violence always lurking where she ought to be safest.
It is a wonderful film, honest and powerful, with two amazing, and yet understated, performances from Colman and Mullan in the lead roles and strong support throughout, most notably from Marsan. It is tough going in places and it doesn’t give any easy resolution but this is another contender for best film of the year – right now it’s way in the lead for me but, then, it is the last one I’ve seen and it’s left a very big impression.