When Paddy Considine brought Tyrannosaur to New York for New Directors/New Films in March (reviews), Graham Fuller met up with him to interview him for Film Comment, noting that, as an actor, "Considine, 37, has blessed a range of downbeat British films with his lugubrious, sometimes volatile presence, among them his friend Shane Meadows's A Room for Romeo Brass (99) and Dead Man's Shoes (04), Pavel Pawlikowski's Last Resort (00) and My Summer of Love (04), Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People (02), Stoned (05), and Red Riding: 1980 (09). He has also made the odd foray into Hollywood for Cinderella Man (05) and The Bourne Ultimatum (07). As a writer-director, Considine cranks up the volatility with his outstanding feature debut, Tyrannosaur, which he took a dry run at with his 2007 short, Dog Altogether."
The film "opens with Joseph (Peter Mullan) taking out his rage and self-loathing on the last thing he loves, his dog, kicking the animal to death," writes Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times. "He soon meets Hannah (Olivia Colman) in the shop where she works; he develops feelings for her, but their halting, deepening connection is complicated by the presence of her abusive husband (Eddie Marsan [above]). Considine acknowledges the unusual pairing of torment and uplift, but he says he consciously avoided working within one of the primary currents of British film while making Tyrannosaur. 'This is not social realism,' Considine said at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. 'I'm saying, "Here are these people. These are their circumstances. There are the worlds they are from, and this is a love story about the people you walk past in the street. Those people you see at the local shop have got a story."'"
"Tyrannosaur may take several steps beyond Gary Oldman's Nil by Mouth and Tim Roth's The War Zone toward a new extreme in Limey nihilism," wrote Jason Anderson in Cinema Scope in September. This is "a portrait of England at its most vile and violent, a country of small shabby rooms and perpetual pub brawls."
"The tentative friendship that develops between Joseph and Hannah, rather than providing a small glimmer of hope among all the grimness, demonstrates Considine's own unsteadiness with plot coherency and logic," finds Melissa Anderson in the Voice. "At best, Tyrannosaur is an actor's showcase: Although it's no stretch for Mullan to play another coont drunk on beer and rage, Colman's transformation from a broken woman to a sunny store clerk is alchemic."
More from Jeannette Catsoulis (NPR), Daniel Guzman (Cinespect), Keith Phipps (AV Club, A-), Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York, 3/5) and AO Scott, who writes in the New York Times that "characters are trapped, suffocated, pushed through a story that gives them very little room or time to figure themselves out, and that finally turns their feelings into the wan stuff of fable. You pity them and wish they had something better, though not quite in the way that Tyrannosaur intends."
At Sundance (reviews), Scott Macaulay and Jamie Stuart shot interviews with Considine and Mullan for Filmmaker:
Sam Adams's interview with Considine for the AV Club at Sundance "turned into a roundtable with the movie's stars, as first Olivia Colman and then Peter Mullan drifted into the room and grabbed a seat unbidden." Simon Hattenstone interviews Colman for the Guardian.