Tyrannosaur opens with an act of astonishing cruelty and at times the relentless bleakness of Paddy Considine's directorial debut threatens to becomes suffocating. Stick with it, however, because the film possesses a deep compassion and moments of harsh beauty that make it much more than a wallow in misery.
Building upon his award-winning short Dog Altogether, Considine explores the unlikely bond between raging, drunken widower Joseph (Mullan) and devout charity shop owner Hannah (Colman), who secretly suffers abuse at the hands of her petty husband (Marsan). The film pulsates with simmering violence throughout, but slowly the focus shifts onto the bond between Joseph and Hannah, two damaged souls who find solace in each other.
Mullan attacks his role with customary conviction but Colman is a revelation, delivering a multifaceted performance of extraordinary emotional power; the heart-wrenching scenes they share feel devastatingly real. Dog lovers may be advised to give Tyrannosaur a miss, but there’s much to appreciate for admirers of bold, challenging cinema.