(dir. Paddy Considine/91 minutes)
Paddy Considine's directorial debut was the big winner at last week's British Independent Film Awards, picking up trophies for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Film. And rightly so. It's a remarkable film about beasts and monsters that pulls no punches. It's unrelentingly unpleasant; one (graphic) scene towards the beginning drew a collective gasp of horror from the audience in the cinema. It tells the story of `tyrannosaur' Joseph, characteristically played with blistering rage by Peter Mullan. Joseph is a violent, bitter, alcoholic widower, full of anger and pain. He meets Hannah (a stunning performance by Olivia Coleman), an all-round good egg (she's a devout Christian working in a charity shop, what more proof do you need that she's a good person?) who takes Joseph under her wing and helps him on the road to recovery and redemption. It all sounds a bit predictable written down on the page like that, but the execution is far from predictable as Hannah is hiding something equally terrible about her own life. All the performances are standout (Eddie Marsan makes a distinct impression in his limited screen time as Hannah's monstrous husband James). Casting Coleman, primarily known as a comedy actress in Peep Show, Rev and Green Wing among others, was a masterstroke as she's so warm and nice that you just want to give her a hug. She'll break your heart. That's a promise.