Peter Mullan as Joesph in "Tyrannosaur". Photo by Jack English
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Paddy Considine
Within the first five minutes of Paddy Considine’s dramatic thriller, it’s blatantly clear the male lead is one of the most soulless characters to reach the screen in ages. Joseph (Peter Mullan) is an alcoholic with a gambling problem whose temper instigates unbelievably callous acts of violence. After kicking his dog to death, shattering a store window and attacking three individuals in a bar, Joseph finds himself hiding from responsibility in the clothing racks in thrift store owned by Hannah (Olivia Colman). Transforming the awkward situation into an opportunity to offer comfort through religion, Hannah attempts to offer sanctuary for the self-destructive loner. As their relationship expands, the truth behind Hannah’s abusive marriage surfaces and Joseph attempts to redeem a life fueled by anger and hate by returning the favor. Mullan truly embodies the essence of pure hatred with his soulless eyes that alone express a life smothered with neglect, which translates beautifully on camera. The hopelessness and sorrow Colman brings to the film is mesmerizing but it’s the well-balanced transition to power that leaves a permanent mark. First-time director Considine has constructed an absolutely brilliant film that refuses to soften its content or its characters and their actions. It’s stunning how Considine is able to successfully convert such a cold-blooded character that once appeared to be on an unstoppable path of self-destruction.