"“It is straight out of the Shane Meadow’s school of filmmaking…”"

There aren’t too many actors who can claim to have matched their on-screen exploits, with what they have achieved off it. There are few actors-turned-directors who have successfully reinvented themselves and directed and produced a high-standard quality of film. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fine examples, such as Clint Eastwood and Sean Penn, but now I think it’s fair to say that Paddy Considine can be added to that exclusive list.

Considine is arguably Britain’s finest export in current cinema, and with his directorial debut, Tyrannosaur is a gripping and affecting film, and one that can certainly stand alongside some of his acting roles, with films such as Dead Man’s Shoes and A Room For Romeo Brass.

It tells the melancholy tale of the abandoned and damaged Joseph (Peter Mullan) who seeks refuge in charity shop owner Hannah (Olivia Colman), as he struggles to survive everyday life, amidst inherent issues with alcohol and anger management.

However, Hannah too is looking for someone to confide in, and when the pair begin their unlikely friendship, we learn that she too is struggling in her own life, as the fateful wife of the highly abusive and somewhat sinister James (Eddie Marsan).

When a film covers themes such as death, seclusion and domestic violence, it relies heavily on the performances of the leading roles in order to allow the film to be authentic and realistic, which is so vital in making contemporary and hard-hitting real life dramas both moving and poignant, and therefore successful. And in Tyrannosaur, the acting is simply impeccable.

Mullan plays Joseph with an incredible vulnerability to contrast with his volatile and dangerous personality, making for a moving character who, despite performing unethical acts that are erroneous and ignorant, he manages to keep the audience on his side, as you still wish his life to be turned around.

Colman is also exceptionally brilliant as the helpless and delicate Hannah. In what is already a stand-out performance that could well earn Colman a BAFTA, her intensity and susceptibility is just spot on, as her performance is genuine and horribly true to life. Having made her break as Sophie in hit comedy series Peep Show, I was somewhat sceptical as to whether she was capable of taking the leading actress role in such a harsh drama, but she has proved me wrong completely.

Her performance is helped along by the wonderful Marsan, who, similarly to his role in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, plays someone clearly embroiled in deep personal issues and needing help. He has a tendency to perform such characters extremely well, and his scenes alongside Colman, and the way they bounce off one another, is extraordinary.

Despite being a brilliant feature film, it is very bleak and gritty and, at points, difficult to watch. Quite literally from start to finish, as the film opens with a harrowing scene, and this mood prevails throughout.

It is straight out of the Shane Meadow’s school of filmmaking, and Considine has clearly taken many pointers from his mentor, with whom he has worked on countless occasions, as he manages to encapsulate the poignancy and austerity that Meadow’s films have become so renowned for. It even manages to capture the similar bleakness of small English towns, highlighting the secluded and ominous atmosphere of certain parts of Britain.

It’s simply a terrific debut production by Considine, shining in sincerity whilst remaining unsentimental throughout. And now I’ve used every superlative that I can think of, it’s fair to say that the only thing missing from the feature was Paddy Considine himself.