I have 498 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? Tyrannosaur (2011)
What’s it rated? Unrated for violence towards animals (human and otherwise), humiliation on a primal level and unfocused rage unleashed on everything.
Did people make it? Written and Directed by Paddy Considine. Acted by Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman and Eddie Marsan.
What’s it like in one sentence? One of the most brutal and unflinching movies I’ve ever seen.
Why did you watch it? This one was my choice. I love Paddy Considine and I love Peter Mullan, so I figured I had to watch it.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Joseph (Mullan) is an angry man. He’s an unemployed widower who has a rage constantly brewing inside of him that spills over at the slightest touch. In the opening scene, he comes out of a bar extremely angry about some perceived slight and kicks his dog to death. And he loved that fucking dog. It was his best buddy. Joseph meets Hannah (Colman), a kind and Christian thrift store owner who tries to take him under her wing, even while she has giant problems of her own. Namely, her scumfuck weasel of a husband, James (Marsan), who does all manner of unspeakable things to her. Can Joseph and Hannah heal each other, even though they seemingly have no control over their own lives? Can you make it through this entire movie without killing yourself?
Play or remove from my queue? Play it! Paddy Considine gives an astoundingly assured feature directorial debut (based off of his short film Dog Altogether) and the work he gets out of Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman is absolutely breathtaking. Literally, Colman is so incredible in this film that it took my breath away. In an American film, this would be the Best Actress Oscar performance, no question. Her work is so fragile, so heartbreaking and so completely devoid of ego, that she almost transcends performance and enters into some form of theatrical reality (I don’t know what any of that means, but it’s how I’m feeling). She broke me down two separate times in the film which I had a hard time recovering from, so I had to stop the film. Not to take away from Mullan’s work, he is incredible, but I knew he would be. After Trainspotting, Session 9 and The Magdalene Sisters, I knew he was capable of some beautiful things, and he does not disappoint. Joseph’s rage is something to behold and it’s a testament to Mullan that you still find yourself somewhat in his corner after kicking a dog to death in the first scene. His performance is gigantic and subtle, if that makes any sense.
The worst (relatively speaking) movie I’ve watched for this column has to be the film Red Road, starring Kate Dickie and Tony Curran. I railed against it in the review because it was misery porn on such a base level, that to watch it was to be in hell, surrounded by these horrible, boring people, trying to bring you down to their level. Because the plot of that film turned out to be so ludicrous, (like Tales from the Crypt bad) that all of the serious, Dogma 95 type shenanigans it tried shoving down my throat felt manipulative and completely disingenuous to the type of film they were actually making. Now, Tyrannosaur could easily be considered misery porn. Every single scene seems to top the horribly degrading shit you just saw the scene before and everyone in the film is truly miserable, but all of it is in service to the characters. It’s not a plot driven film (unlike Red Road) and it’s perfectly content to just spend time with its characters, breathing in the air and spending a quiet moment alone. I think if you’re telling a story about people in a miserable situation, as opposed to telling a miserable story about miserable people, it makes the film feel powerful instead of ridiculous.
Tyrannosaur depressed the hell out of me. It made me uncomfortable and sick to my stomach. But when it was over (bear with me here), I felt clean. I felt like I had been through some shit with some flawed and complicated people and had come out the other side a little scarred, but otherwise untouched. I can’t tell you “oh, you need to be in the mood for this one” because there is no mood for this. You just need to watch it and realize you’re going to see some things you don’t want to see and you’re going to feel gut-punched a few times and you need to be okay with that. Make no mistake, Tyrannosaur is a beautiful, ugly and (at times) profound piece of art that doesn’t compromise or even mince words with you. When the reason behind the title crystallized for me and tears started rolling down my cheeks (even though I felt numb inside), I knew that Paddy Considine wasn’t just an exceptional actor, he was an exceptional filmmaker, as well. Watch this movie, you won’t thank me for it.
Do you have a favorite line? When Mullan tells Colman that he’s not a good human being, I lost it. Again.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? It’s not fun, but this movie made absolutely no money in the States, so if you watch it and like it, maybe tell some folks about it.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Angels Crest (looks strong, but I’m still not sold on Thomas Dekker), NEDS (directed by Peter Mullan! Added!), Into the Abyss (working my way up to this one), London Boulevard (Stoked to see this one) and Albatross (Jessica Brown-Findlay is one of the hottest women alive, so… added).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Like just isn’t the right word. You’d like other violent and depressing British films? No. You tell me what you think is comparable to this.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.9
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 4.5
Can you link to the movie? Sure!
Any last thoughts? I’m curious to find out what you guys think of the movie. Is it an acquired taste or just a masterpiece all around?
Did you watch anything else this week? I saw 50\50 which was lovely and I have to go see MIB3 tonight. Oh, and I got all caught up with Game of Thrones, which is just rocking the fucking house down.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Fish Story? I refuse to spoil this movie for anyone other than to say the longer I sit with it, the more I absolutely love it. It’s a rare thing to stumble upon a film and be completely surprised, so for that reason I will always love this movie.
Next Week? Pontypool!