Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Why do I like films that, to some, feel like depressing stacked on top of depressing? Could be that they affirm my world view -- or one of them, at least. Or perhaps I just love honest representations of humanity, representations that don't lie or cave in to mediocrity under their own nihilistic pressure.
The focus here is Joseph (Peter Mullan), a damaged, angry, intelligent man, played with caustic menace and pathos by Mullan; he's not the 'Tyrannosaur' of the title, although he's prone to rampage like one. One shitty afternoon, Joseph takes refuge in a thrift store run by Hannah (Olivia Colman); she takes pity on the man and cops an earful of bile for her efforts. Later, Joseph will regret his thoughtlessness, and Hannah will reveal a side of her life that's a relentless gut-punch.
The central villain of this piece (in a film of villains shaded grey) is Hannah's husband James (Eddie Marsan), a thoroughly pernicious piece of work whose grotesque behavior towards Hannah is jaw-dropping.
This is one real fuckin movie. Hannah is an abused woman, a frightened woman who dreads going home. When the jealous, self-loathing Marsan drives into town to pick her up one evening after she drowns her anxieties in drink, we're truly terrified for her. Colman's performance is searing. It's painful to watch. A bloody portrait of a reluctant victim. Living in a constant state of fear, she's a woman tumbling down a staircase of despair, her personality replaced by a shell. A beautiful soul in retreat.