Tyrannosaur review

There are some actors you just have a gut feeling will make good directors.

Judging by the many indelible characters he’s created and the fact that he pals around with Shane Meadows, Paddy Considine was always one of them.

You can see Considine’s been taking notes from his regular collaborator: from topic to tone, Tyrannosaur bears the hallmarks of a Meadows production.

Considine’s direction of his own script (expanded from his 2007 Bafta-winning short Dog Altogether) makes for a searing drama about grizzled widower Joseph (Peter Mullan), whose violent, drink-fuelled impulses are slowly tamed when he meets sunny charity-shop owner Hannah (Olivia Colman).

Despite her happy-go-lucky exterior, Hannah, it turns out, is buried in an abusive marriage with Eddie Marsan’s nasty piece of work. But where Considine’s clear-sighted handling of intense subject matter doesn’t surprise, what does is the lead female performance.

Watchers of sitcom Peep Show will instantly be familiar with Colman’s perky-optimism-concealing-sorrow persona and might worry she’s going to deliver more of the same. But as Tyrannosaur begins to roar, so does Colman, in devastating fashion.

Mullan and Marsan are also strong (the former getting to the beating heart of an outwardly hateful man), though both have played variations on their themes before.

Considine not only plays magpie with Meadows but demonstrates Leigh’s flair for pricking middle-class pomposity and Loach’s unflinching eye for the grim realities of social deprivation. It’s a mighty debut with more than one stinging surprise in store. And not a dinosaur in sight.

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