The hysterical rage continues when Joseph starts on three unsuspecting youths. But Joseph is a much more complex character than the thug who leads the opening few minutes. Indeed, we see him crumble early on, as he runs into a charity shop and hides away from the world in a rack of clothes, following the confrontation.
‘My best friend’s dying of cancer. I killed my dog. I’m f***ed,’ he tells the stunned charity worker, Hannah (Olivia Coleman), who smiles sweetly, prays for the stranger’s well-being and offers endless cups of tea.
Despite scoffing at her offers of redemption, Joseph finds himself drawn to Hannah’s unassuming faith and an unlikely bond is formed between the two, as Joseph’s false assumptions about Hannah’s perfect middle-class life are brought to the fore.
Set in Glasgow against a dreary, grey colour palette, Tyrannosaur is an incredibly bleak yet thoughtful and strangely uplifting tale which combines a sympathetic character study with raw, gritty drama.
A couple of unexpected turns in the narrative keep the audience hooked throughout however none are perhaps as revelatory as Coleman’s utterly compelling performance. The comedy actress brings a remarkable fearlessness to the role and it is her that really sticks in your mind, long after you’ve left the cinema. Mullan is equally powerful on more familiar territory and the pair work together to create one of the most memorable and affecting portraits of humanity on screen so far this year.
Considine approaches Tyrannosaur with a careful subtlety and there’s a poetic feel that runs through in spite of the honest and, occasionally tough-to-watch, violence. There are some unusual, lingering camera angles that prove to be a little distracting and the unrelenting grimness suggests that the film is not going to be to everyone’s tastes but overall, Tyrannosaur is an extremely moving and assured feature debut. Just don’t go and see it if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.