One night, unemployed widower Joseph (Peter Mullan) drunkenly kicks his dog Bluey to death. He buries the dog and goes to the post office, where he mocks some Asian workers then throws a brick through the window when they tell him to leave. At the pub, Joseph attacks two young men playing pool - one of whom threatened and mocked him. He then hides in a second-hand shop, where a religious and compassionate employee, Hannah (Olivia Colman), offers to pray for him.
That night, Joseph goes to his home and meets up with his 6-year-old neighbour Samuel (Samuel Bottomley), who is forced to wait outside, while his Mother is inside with her nasty boyfriend. The boyfriend teases and berates Samuel and threatens to let loose his vicious dog on the young boy. After Samuel is allowed back in the house, Joseph is attacked by the men from the post office. The next morning, Joseph wakes up and goes to the shop, where Hannah looks after him. He begins to berate and insult her, before leaving.
Hannah returns home and falls asleep drunk, where her abusive husband James (Eddie Marsan) urinates on her. The next morning at the second-hand shop, Joseph apologises and slowly befriends Hannah. One day, she comes to the shop with a black eye and claims to have fallen in the bath. He asks her to come with him and pray for his best friend Jack (Robin Butler), who is dying of cancer. A few days later, Jack dies. A few days afterwards, Joseph returns to the shop. James finds Hannah tying Joseph's tie as he tries on a suit for the funeral, and silently threatens Hannah and Joseph. Joseph realises that James is beating Hannah and confronts her about the beatings. She constantly denies it.
One night, Hannah gets drunk and James comes to take her home. He hits her and she begins to mock him. She tries to compose herself in the bedroom, when James arrives, and beats and rapes her. Hannah tells Joseph that she is leaving James and asks to stay with him. He hesitatingly agrees, and in the course of her settling in, Joseph reveals that his heavy set wife has been dead for 5 years, due to complications from her diabetes. He also tells Hannah that he regrets using the nickname "Tyrannosaur" for his wife. He used it because it reminded Joseph of the scene in the movie "Jurassic Park" where the tyrannosaur could be heard stomping after the children in the film, much like how his wife sounded when she was walking on the second storey of their house.
After a few days, Joseph tells her that she is not safe with him and suggests she leave. Joseph escorts Hannah back to her house to retrieve some items, but she ends up running away, not ready to confront her husband. Hannah then goes with Joseph to Jack's wake where they sing and dance and tell tales in remembrance of Joseph's old friend. While Hannah is sleeping in the next room, Joseph decides to confront James, takes her keys and goes to her house, where he finds she had stabbed James to death, presumably after the rape. He confronts Hannah and admits that he knows about the murder. She breaks down and reveals that James mutilated her reproductive system with a glass bottle and that she just wanted to be a mother.
A year later, it is revealed, through a letter that Joseph wrote to Hannah, that Samuel was mauled by his mother's boyfriend's dog. In retaliation, Joseph beheaded the dog with a machete for which he spent a few months in jail. He also discloses that he did not initially enter the second hand shop randomly, but on purpose, because he saw Hannah, wanted to meet her, and thought she was beautiful. He tells her after leaving jail, he quit drinking. The movie ends with Joseph walking down a path after visiting Hannah, who is in prison herself for James's killing.
Tyrannosaur is an expansion of Dog Altogether, a short film for Warp Films that Considine wrote and directed, which won the Best Short Film BAFTA and BIFA awards as well as the Silver Lion award at Venice in 2007. The film received a grant of £206,540 from the National Lottery fund through the UK Film Council. The remainder of the film's budget came from Warp X, Inflammable Films, Film4, Screen Yorkshire, EM Media and Optimum Releasing (StudioCanal). It depicts an environment similar to what Considine witnessed growing up on a council estate in the Midlands, although the film is in no way autobiographical. The film's title is a metaphor, the meaning of which is revealed in the film.
The film is set in an unspecified town in the North of England, although much of it was shot on location in residential areas of Leeds and Wakefield, including Seacroft, Cross Gates, Eccup, Harehills and Alwoodley, and the accents of many of the main characters are drawn from a wide geographical area. The film makes reference to the fictional Manners Estate as an area in the town where the more wealthy inhabitants reside. Manners Estate is the name of the council estate in the parish of Winshill near Burton-on-Trent where Paddy Considine grew up.
Many of the extras used in the film were local residents, including local busker Chris Wheat who was given a part after singing to the cast and crew on set. He performs his own original song in the film. Workers from the local St Vincent’s Charity Shop used in the film were also given small parts. Several other small roles were given to members of the crew, including the film's producer Diarmid Scrimshaw, the film's make-up designer Nadia Stacey, and the production coordinator Samantha Milnes who was featured in a photo as Joseph's late wife. The film is dedicated to Considine's late mother, Pauline Considine. The end credits gives special thanks to both James Marsh and Gary Oldman.
Original music composed by Chris Baldwin & Dan Baker
Tyrannosaur received positive reviews and currently has a "certified Fresh" score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3 out of 10. The critical consensus states: "Tyrannosaur is a brutal, frank, and ultimately rewarding story of violent men seeking far-off redemption." The film also has a score of 65 out of 100 based on 18 critics on Metacritic, indicating "Generally favourable reviews".
Stuart McGurk of GQ magazine called Tyrannosaur "The best British film of the year", whilst Empire said it was "Riveting, uncompromising, brilliant" and gave it 4/5 stars, as did Total Film, The Guardian, Sunday Mirror, and Evening Standard. The Daily Star Sunday and LoveFilm gave the film 5/5 stars and The Sunday Telegraph dubbed it "One of the most powerful films of 2011."
The American film critic and blogger Jeffrey Wells was so taken by Tyrannosaur after seeing it at the Los Angeles Film Festival that he started 'Hollywood Elsewhere's Tyrannosaur fundraising campaign' with the idea of raising $2,000 to cover the rental of a screening room so that the film could be shown in Hollywood with the hope of gaining recognition. Wells claimed this was the first screening financed by a critic.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3.5 stars out of 4, calling Peter Mullan's performance muscular and unrelenting. He also remarked: "This isn't the kind of movie that even has hope enough to contain a message. There is no message, only the reality of these wounded personalities."
Mark Kermode of BBC Radio 5 Live, hailed the film as one of the 11 Best Films of 2011. Kermode went on to award Olivia Colman Best Actress in his own Annual Kermode Awards. She tied with Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin.
By 18 December 2011, the film had won 21 awards from 28 nominations worldwide.
When the BAFTA Award nominations were announced on 17 January 2012, the omission of Olivia Colman in the Best Actress category led to global trending of both Olivia Colman and Tyrannosaur on Twitter.
|2011||Sundance International Film Festival Award||The World Cinema Award for Directing: Dramatic||Won|
|World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance: Peter Mullan||Won|
|World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema – Dramatic||Nominated|
|Nantucket Film Festival Award||Best Writer/Director||Won|
|Munich Film Festival, Germany||CineVision Award Outstanding Debut Feature||Won|
|Voices Festival of independent European Cinema, Russia||Voices Festival Prize: Best Film||Won|
|Best acting prize: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Dinard British Film Festival, France||The Golden Hitchcock: Grand Jury Prize/Ciné+ Award||Won|
|The Allianz Award: Best Screenplay||Won|
|Chicago International Film Festival||Silver Hugo for Best Actress: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Zagreb Film Festival, Croatia||T-Com Audience Award: Best Film||Won|
|Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece||Fischer Audience Award (For a film in the Open Horizons section)||Won|
|Mar del Plata Film Festival, Argentina||Jury Special Award||Won|
|Silver Astor for Best Screenplay||Won|
|Argentine Film Critics Association ACCA Award||Won|
|2nd place SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication) Award||Won|
|Stockholm Film Festival, Sweden||Best First Feature||Won|
|British Independent Film Awards||Best British Independent Film||Won|
|Best Director: Paddy Considine||Nominated|
|The Douglas Hickox Award [Best Debut Director]: Paddy Considine||Won|
|Best Actress: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Best Actor: Peter Mullan||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Marsan||Nominated|
|Best Achievement in Production||Nominated|
|International Press Academy Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Olivia Colman||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay: Original||Nominated|
|Best First Feature||Won|
|2012||Independent Spirit Awards||Best International Film||Nominated|
|The Guardian First Film Award 2012||Best First Film||Nominated|
|London Critics Circle Film Awards||The Virgin Atlantic Award – Breakthrough British Film-Maker: Paddy Considine||Nominated|
|The Moët & Chandon Award – British Actress of the Year: Olivia Colman||Won|
|British Actor of the Year: Peter Mullan (For Tyrannosaur & War Horse)||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA)||Outstanding debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer (Considine/Scrimshaw)||Won|
|Evening Standard British Film Awards||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor: Peter Mullan||Nominated|
|Best Actor: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Best Screenplay: Paddy Considine||Nominated|
|Kermode Award||Best Actress: Olivia Colman (Shared with Tilda Swinton)||Won|
|Jameson Empire Awards 2012||Best British Film||Nominated|
|Citroën Best Actress Award: Olivia Colman||Won|
|Bucharest International Film Festival (Bucuresti IFF) 2012||Best Film||Won|
|Critics’ Choice Award||Won|
|Transilvania International Film Festival, Romania||FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award||Won|