Posted by: greercn | October 12, 2011


The 1960s happens to be the “in” era of the moment, in TV and in film. Whether it’s “Mad Men” or “The Help” or anything else, those who make movies seem anxious to roll back time and take us to a simpler place, when terrorism and feminism were new kids on the block and everyone knew their place. Under someone else’s rule.

Nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be, to coin a phrase. This film isn’t set in the 1960s, but it sure feels like it is.

If you hope “Tyrannosaur” is about dinosaurs, you are almost wrong. Unless you are using the pejorative feminist meaning of dinosaur, which is about men who wish the clock to stay set in about 1960.

This is a kitchen sink drama of the “Poor Cow” and “Cathy Come Home” era and should really be served with Prozac or a chilled glass of Chablis as the antidote. It is beyond depressing to the point at which every ticket should be sold with a portable noose to just hang yourself at the end of it.

What’s the superlative form of the word “downbeat”? Hopeless? Dead? Words fail me.

Paddy Considine’s film takes every single “grim up north” cliche and swooshes them all together in a cocktail glass without bubbles or fruit. I SO needed a stiff drink after seeing this. It took three and some very convivial company and music before I could even bear to blog.

Of course, it has won multiple Sundance and other awards. Juries seem to confuse depression with depth.

Plot? It starts with lots of swearing and anger and builds up to death and destruction. There is a sort of love story. It thinks it has fresh ideas about class, but these are simply that it is as easy to be rich and hopeless as it is to be poor and hopeless. Duh.

Peter Mullan plays Joseph and it’s clear from the first scene that he has anger management issues and uses the “f” word a lot. Heck, everybody in this could swear for an Olympic team.

Joseph meets Hannah (Olivia Colman) who is even angrier than he is, but more middle class about showing it. If there is an Oscar for most vulgar and worrying scene of the year, that jury gets to pick from four in “Tyrannosaur”.

Eddie Marsan – who will get you thinking “wasn’t he in The Bill”? – plays Hannah’s husband and features in my candidate for most horrible scene in a film ever in the history of movies.

They are all brilliant actor. They never laugh, except in a wry way at wakes after funerals.

Samuel Bottomley and  Ned Dennehy are superb. Ned provides the only comic relief here and that is not exactly fun to watch. 

Did I learn anything? Sadly, no.

Notting Hill Gate’s Picturehouse is very beautiful and surely the best place in the country to watch anything. I would rather see a bad film here than a good film somewhere else. They make excellent coffee and have little tables in the cinema so you can slurp away withou groping on the floor.

It will win every award going. I absolutely hated it but was utterly engrossed, which probably means that I have a high tolerance and respect rate for anything on a big screen.

I am off to do whatever it takes to cheer me up. Whisky and more conversation with some chirpy and positive souls, I think are called for. Or any old Port in a storm.



  1. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this for a long time, so I certainly hope I enjoy it more than you did. British “kitchen sink” dramas are really my thing, and I love Paddy Considine in front of the camera, so it does appeal to me.

    • I normally like kitchen sink dramas and this is superb. I found it gruelling and haunting and I am not in the modd for that, right now. Do see it and let me know what you think.

  2. Golly, I liked it. Well, apart from the last 20 mins or so, which really felt unnatural. The two lead performances are superb, and some of the shots were beautifully framed. Flawed, yes, but a great debut I reckon.

    • I accept it’s a great movie and I didn’t hate it as I watched it. But the nastiest of the images are staying with me. I am not normally a sensitive flower about watching harsh movies, but this seems to have offended my subconscious!

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