Sundance: Will somebody please buy 'Tyrannosaur'?

TYRANNOSAUR-cast-sundanceImage Credit: TURE LILLEGRAVEN FOR EWOf the 10 movies I saw over the weekend I spent at Sundance, hands down the best one was Tyrannosaur, the directorial debut of English actor Paddy Considine (In America). Based on Considine’s 2007 BAFTA-winning short film Dog Altogether, Tyrannosaur stars powerhouse Scottish actor Peter Mullan (My Name Is Joe, Boy A) as a rage-filled West Yorkshire alcoholic who develops a shaky friendship with an unhappily-married woman who works at a Christian charity store. The lead female role is played by Olivia Colman, a British comedian in an atypically dramatic performance.

The movie is not easy to sit through — let’s just say it begins with Mullan’s character kicking his pet dog to death — but it ends up being tremendously affecting, thanks to the monumental performances by Mullan and Colman as two people with far too much baggage ever to be able to maintain any kind of healthy relationship. But despite the flurry of sales at Sundance, including several dark dramas, Tyrannosaur remains distributor-free at the moment. That’s too bad: With the right kind of release, it’s a film that could gain awards attention from the British Independent Film Awards and maybe even the BAFTAs.

You all know how much I loved Blue Valentine when I first saw it at Cannes. Well, no movie has had this profound an effect on me since then, until now. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Considine, Mullan, and Colman at our EW photo studio. Watch me fawn all over them in the video interview below.

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
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  • harry

    damn buy it already!

  • Sue b.

    Maybe if they replaced the dog beating scene with something not so disturbing it would sell. Who wants to see that kind of stuff?

  • whatevs

    Not a fan of animal violence in media.

  • Anthony G

    I concur. I bet the dog-beating scene is what’s kept the film from being sold. I don’t care how amazing a film is, I have no intention of watching a film in which is kicked to death. Sorry.

    • Mr E

      That’s a pathetic attitude. It’s a work of fiction.

  • Brandon

    Sounds like you guys should stick to Disney flicks that won’t challenge you emotionally.

    • whatevs

      There’s no need to insult people who don’t want to watch a dog get kicked to death. There are many, many emotionally challenging movies that only deal with people. I’m pretty sure these don’t fall under the Disney category. Hopefully in the future you won’t feel the need to feel big by belittling other people’s movie preferences.

  • FODforever

    I agree with Brandon. It is exactly that kind of ‘oh, that makes me uncomfortable’ attitude that gets us twenty films playing at once like Just Go With It. I’ll watch an animal tortured in a film with an actual human story before I watch a mindless romcom. I understand personal tastes, and not wanting to see certain situations (see my distaste for tired, unfunny comedy), but there is a problem when a film is not given the chance to reach a wider audience because of potentially objectionable material that contributes to the work.

  • G.R.

    Dave — I literally gasped when I saw the headline. As a fan of Considine, I’ve been wanting to see this since I first heard it was being made; and I really hope it gets picked up for a proper release.

  • Patxi

    You’re commenting on a film you haven’t even seen! I saw it at Sundance and this scene isn’t sensationalist. The whole thing is shot off-screen and is over in seconds! It’s not some pornographic indulgence. If you give the character a chance and stay with the film it’s truly rewarding and challenging. Masterpiece.

  • Steve

    You lost me at “kicking his dog to death.” I can just about stomach most cinematic violence but scenes of violence against animals (as in Tsotsi or Amores Perros) is hard for me to sit through. Hard to imagine the film could engender sympathy for Mullan’s character after that he kills his dog but, then again, America seems to have forgiven Michael Vick, so what do I know?

    • BillBaxter

      I love Michael Vick. What did he ever do?

  • Peter

    Paddy Considine may have played Irish in “In America” but he was born in Staffordshire, England. He is not an Irish actor.

    • Mr E

      Yep, born and raised English.

      • Dave Karger

        Thanks for the correction, guys!

  • Topsy

    Saw it at Sundance, best film I have seen in years. It is not easy to watch but you end up caring a great deal about these characters. I found it disturbing, in the theater listening to the audience reaction, and again in the comments here, that the violence against an animal was much more shocking and disturbing than anything that happened to the woman or child.

  • Margaret Banks

    For those of us who didn’t get to Sundance but are curious about this film – HOW DO WE GET TO SEE IT??

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