Thursday, July 5, 2012


It is hard to feel any compassion for Joseph (Peter Mullan), an angry, bitter drunk who is quick to lash out, so much so that he accidentally kills his own pet dog in a fit of rage, in the English movie Tyrannosaur (2011). He knows he is no good, partly for mistreating his wife during her lifetime (she died years earlier from complications due to diabetes), and seems to loathe himself. Yet, there is a kernal of good and vulnerability in him: he is casual friends with an abused neighbor boy and he tries to make some amends by showing loyalty and compassion to a dying friend (who he didn't seem to like all that much when he was alive), but even these acts do not really redeem him. Directed by Paddy Considine, the movie has Mullan adeptly displaying behavior that marks him as a dinosaur, although the term in the movie refers to a mean-spirited nickname for his wife. But there is a glimmer of humanity in him, as he is approached (for religious purposes) and later befriended by an abused woman who works in a local charity shop, and they end up forging a cautious fellowship. Unlike so many men, he comes right out and admits that he is a "cunt" (his words; its ugliness is not diminished even when he is using it to describe himself). This is a tough, unhappy movie, that delves into the darker side of men, especially those who abuse children, women, and animals. Nevertheless, it is beautifully filmed and stark, and the acting of Mullan and Olivia Colman (who playes Hannah) is strong and poignant. Although a small film, it deserves a viewership.

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