Tyrannosaur on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

Tyrannosaur: When the menu appears for this film, it features a long shot of a house with, buried just below, the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This is no venture for the Time Team, but it is a film which has a large amount of great drama to unearth.

Joseph (Peter Mullan) is an alcoholic, gambling pensioner, with little to live for and plenty of contempt for everyone around him, even to the point of accidentally harming his dog when a drunken, involuntary swift kick meets the animal’s ribcage, causing it to collapse in silence. The dog does not survive the night and he buries it in the morning.

While trying to enjoy a quiet pint, his peace is disturbed by the goings on elsewhere in the pub and after assaulting a young lad who threatens him with a pool cue, he takes shelter behind a clothes rack in Hannah’s (Olivia Colman) charity clothes shop. A God-fearing woman, she prays for him and lets him stay there until closing time. He repays this kindness by being obscenely rude to her, including being about the fact she can’t have children.

They both have their own demons to deal with. She has an abusive husband, James (Eddie Marsan), while he has a friend who is on the verge of death and on an oxygen mask, but still lives at home. Tyrannosaur is, quite simply, about the relationship between the two main characters and whether they can help each other in some strange way.

Olivia Colman puts on a fantastic performance as the downtrodden woman, following on nicely from her perfectly understated execution in Twenty Twelve (BBC – please put series 2 on BBC2 from the START, not BBC4!) and, in fact, one of the quotes in the trailer states that she is “a revelation” which I’d agree with, while Eddie Marsan is one of the best British actors you’ve seen many times but might not know the name of. However, hats off go big time to Peter Mullan who is a real powerhouse here.

As for the tyrannosaur in the title? That will be revealed as you watch it.

Tyrannosaur is brutal and uncompromising and deserves your attention. It’s one of the few first must-see Blu-ray & DVD releases of 2012.

Presented in 2.35:1 and in 1080p high definition, there are no flaws with the print and the movie is brilliantly-filmed with great use of the full 2.35:1 widescreen frame. It portrays a very bleak picture throughout, evoking the tone and world the two leads inhabit.

The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, and delivers nothing out of the ordinary for a drama, but it does what it needs to in atmosphere and dialogue.

The extras are as follows:

  • Dog altogether (16:34): A short film, presented in 1.85:1 and opening the same way as the main film does, Joseph is seen injuring and then comforting his dying animal before doing his usual contemplation with a baseball bat. He settles on putting the dog to sleep with tablets mixed with egg yolk.

    Made in 2007 and winning the BAFTA Short Film Award in 2008, it becomes clear this is the prelude to the full film you’ve just seen. This is certainly worth watching too, but it does lack the punch of Tyrannosaur, only because it’s like rewatching a similar version.

  • Deleted and alternate scenes (11:40): Seven scenes, starting with the ‘tablets’ one as described in the short film. The ones I’d put back in are No.4 and No.7, which is first, another piece of dialogue between Mullan and Colman and, second, a scene which hints at the horrible life suffered by Samuel (Samuel Bottomley), a lad who lived with his druggie mum and her absolute bastard of a boyfriend. These also have an optional audio commentary from Paddy Considine.

  • Stills gallery: 20 still shots by Jack English.

  • Trailer (1:58): In 2.35:1 and, for a trailer, it doesn’t spoil things, which is quite a rarity.

  • Audio commentary: from writer/director Paddy Considine and producer Diarmid Scrimshaw.

  • Audio description: does what it says on the tin.

The menu mixes clips from the film with a very small piece of looped, calming theme music and the number of chapters is the usual embarrassment from Optimum with a paltry 12 over the 93-minute running time.

In addition there’s a series of trailers that come before the main menu. Why do studios do this? Have they forgotten what the extras menu is for? You have to fast-forward through them too, as they’re not chaptered. Total farce. As such, I’m not listing them here.

At least there are English subtitles included.

Tyrannosaur is released tomorrow on Blu-ray and DVD.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 93 minutes
Year: 2011
Distributor: Optimum
Cat no: OPTBD2031
Released: February 6th 2012
Chapters: 12
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Paddy Considine
Producer: Diarmid Scrimshaw
Screenplay: Paddy Considine
Music: Dan Baker and Chris Baldwin

Joseph: Peter Mullan
Hannah: Olivia Colman
James: Eddie Marsan
Bod: Paul Popplewell
Tommy: Ned Dennehy
Samuel: Samuel Bottomley
Marie: Sally Carman
Kelly (Samuel’s Mum): Sian Breckin
Terry: Paul Conway