Rage and ruin burn off the screen in Tyrannosaur, a first-time directorial effort from Irish actor Paddy Considine in which Peter Mullan - veteran of many a Ken Loach pic - seethes with hate and self-hatred.
No walk in the park, Tyrannosaur is a character study steeped in the British (and Irish) tradition of social realism, and the experience of watching this skillfully made film is, well, exhausting.
Things begin with Joseph (Mullan) ranting in an alley, and then kicking his dog. To death.
It's downhill from there.
An alcoholic and a gambler with no wife and no job, Joseph careens from pub to pub, picking fights, muttering violently into his pints of ale. And then he meets Hannah (Olivia Colman), a devout Christian who runs a charity shop. Joseph, who storms into the store looking for a place to hide, heaps insult and invective on her, which she deflects with the calm of a martyr. But Hannah has her own woes: Her husband (Eddie Marsan) is a cursed lout, abusing her mentally and physically - and when he discovers that his wife has befriended Joseph, things turn truly nasty.
Hope? Redemption? Catharsis? Tyrannosaur offers such possibilities, but the trip getting there is brutal, indeed.
Tyrannosaur *** (out of four stars)
Directed by Paddy Considine. With Peter Mullan, Olivia Colman, and Eddie Marsan. Distributed by Strand Releasing.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 mins.
Parent's guide: No MPAA rating (violence, profanity, adult themes)
Playing at: 10:20 p.m. Saturday at Ritz Five, and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ritz East.
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/onmovies/.