Tyrannosaur Management

A publicist asked for a quote about Paddy Considine‘s Tyrannosaur, which I saw late this afternoon. I haven’t written a review, but here’s what I gave her: “The most original adult love story I’ve seen in ages. Easily the biggest shock of the Sundance Film Festival so far. I didn’t see this one coming — it’s a much stronger and more focused film than I expected from a smallish British drama about an older working-class guy with a temper problem. It curiously touches.

Tyrannosaur costars Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan.

Tyrannosaur director-writer Paddy Considine during filming with Olivia Colman.

Tyrannosaur is a drama that deals almost nothing but surprise cards — a tough story of discipline, redemption and wounded love. Cheers to director-writer Considine for making something genuine and extra-unique. He’s not just an actor who’s branched into directing with a special facility for coaxing good performances — he’s a world-class director who knows from shaping, cutting, timing, holding back and making it all come together.”

I didn’t mention the actors — Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, Eddie Marsan — but their performances simultaneously stand alone and reach in and grab hold. In fact each and every performance (and I mean right down to the dogs) is aces.

The beast of the title is Joseph (Mullan), an alcoholic, widowed, violence-prone rage monster who lives alone in Leeds. He all but melts when he encounters Hannah (Colman), a kind and trusting shop merchant who shows Joseph a little tenderness. Hannah talks the Christian talk but is just as close to alcohol, which she’s turned to as a sanctuary from her ghastly marriage to a homely, ultra-possessive monster of another sort (Marsan) who brings violence and subjugation to Hannah on a constant basis.

Once Mullan and Colman have formed a kind of friendship, the inevitable final conflict with Marsan awaits. One naturally expects (and in facts savors, if truth be told) some sort of howling, knock-down, face-gashing fight between Mullan and Marsan, but…well, I’ll leave it there but it’s more than a bit of a surprise what happens.

I was so taken with Tyrannosaur in the screening’s immediate wake that I shared my reactions with a young freelancer I’d spoken with in the cattle tent. He’d just seen it as well, and basically went “meh.” My mouth almost fell open. “You think what we just saw is just okay?,” I thought but didn’t say. Jeezus Christ. It takes all sorts and sensibilities to make a world.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com/ THE MovieBob

    What does it say about me that, no matter HOW good this sounds, I can’t think about the title and not be dissapointed that it’s not actually about a Tyrannosaur?

  • Arduga

    Peter Mullan, fantastic actor. Loved him in “My name is Joe”. Considine great in “Dead Man’s Shoes”.

  • mtnz

    Well, she’s going to find it hard to get that quote on a poster.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Hmmm…sounds interesting. Good review.

    Awful title, though. Or not…I obviously haven’t seen it. But it certainly isn’t a title that’s going to draw in the kinds of people that would be most predisposed to liking this sorta thing (and sure to disappoint at least a couple Corman fans, if they still exist).

  • Chauncey

    Great post. Hadn’t heard much about this one before, but now it’s high on my “seek out” list.

    “He basically went ‘meh’ and I just froze within.”

    I hate that feeling. So disheartening. It’s like being witness to something that makes you acutely and viscerally aware of your own mortality. I remember raving over FEARLESS to a friend, and his primary reaction was how stupid he thought the strawberries were.

  • moviefan

    Thanks, Jeffrey, I’ve heard nothing about this one but will be looking for it now. Paddy Considine has been on my ‘go see’ radar since In America and I’ll see any movie he’s acting in and now directing/writing.

    I think my biggest ‘freezing within’ moment was when I raved about Midnight Cowboy all those many years ago, sent a good friend to see it and they just gave me a ‘meh’. What?

  • JLC

    I’m with MovieBob. Titles like this are fine for stage plays. But for movies, when you can show an actual, you know, Tyrannosaur, I think it works against them.

    I know that’s a very Eloi view, but the first thing that leaps into your mind about this type of film should not be “Is SyFy releasing their stuff theatrically now?”

  • moveable hype

    “I know that’s a very Eloi view, but the first thing that leaps into your mind about this type of film should not be “Is SyFy releasing their stuff theatrically now?”

    Should I go see ‘Tyrannosaur’ at the picture show or just watch ‘Piranhaconda’ on SyFy tonight? Decisions….decisions…

  • hiviper

    Mullan – also brilliant as the dirty cop in Children of Men

  • Glenn Kenny

    Jeff, I think you’ll find it pretty common that these feisty young film critters don’t really cotton to films featuring older drunks. It’s a form of preemptive denial, if you will.

  • ErrantElan

    Does Colman’s character end up smoking lots of weed and crying in a bathroom stall as in “Peep Show”?

    I don’t know who’s worse for her – Eddie Marsan or Mark and Jez.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    I don’t know the most delicate way to put this, so I’ll just blurt it out rudely — Colman looks a helluva lot older than 37 to me.

  • Eloi Wrath


    “What the fuck are you looking at?”

    “YOU, YA CUNT!”

    Great scene, great film.

    Looking forward to this one. He’s the De Niro of the Midlands.

  • DiscoNap

    It’d be awesome if Mullan could win a Best Actor he’s deserved about three times by now. Also Citizen, yeah, you’ve gotta subtract 15 from the looks of most UK character actresses. Still a handsome woman.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Absolutely LOVE Mullan in the criminally underseen shocker SESSION 9. I’ll seek this out, thanks Jeffrey.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Coming soon…

    ‘Archaeopteryx,’ starring Parker Posey, Jeremy Davies and Patricia Clarkson.

    ‘Plesiosaur,’ starring Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and David Morrissey.

    ‘The Squid & The Whale,’ starring Jesse Eisenberg, Jeff Daniels, and … um, wait…

  • taikwan

    Paddy Considine – so good in Red Riding. There’s something to be said about directors coming from quality acting….if they have that talent on the other side. Appears he does…

  • longrunner

    It takes all sorts and sensibilities to make a world.

    Oh boy, that’s pretty rich coming from you, Wells.

  • bmcintire

    Mullan has given exceptional performances in so many above and below the radar movies that it’s near-tragic he hasn’t become a bigger name.

    Having met him once, though, I can see how his utterly uncommon refusal to deal with most of the bullshit mechanisms of the Hollywood Machine have played a part in keeping him somewhat unknown.



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