24.6.12

Tyrannosaur

Chris Mullen is a bit like Clint Eastwood crossed with Bruce Willis in terms of hardness – that gravelly croak, a gut full of embers. He takes the noir antihero – always bigger than his surroundings – and grounds him in a reality that contextualises his flailing rage. I maintain that this is a genre film – with its femme fatale and inexplicably evil villain – but a responsible one.

As evidence for my proposition, I submit the cheesy montage that follows the funeral, one of a couple of moments in the film where grim realism is bitten back and feelgood music surges forward. I have a flinty heart, maybe, but I found this stuff quite saccharine, and I'm surprised Bradshaw (who is unrelenting on these things) lets it pass without comment. Perhaps Considine thought the audience needed a bit of good cheer. He may be right, but he provides it in hackneyed fashion.

What about the Tyrannosaur that hangs over the film? It's a mystery to me exactly how caring Joe was to his deceased wife (and I welcome your surmises). I guess the pet name is both affectionate and mean, as Joe is himself. The film establishes this very effectively at the beginning.

There maybe something else to the metaphor, tho – women's roaring rage repressed. Women bloated by forgiveness, extinct because they are not canny enough to navigate this cold cold world. And this is where the film gets trapped in its genre conventions: the femme fatale is dangerous when cornered, but she cannot survive on her own. She needs Joe's (masculine) strength, as Joe needs Hannah's (feminine) kindness. A common conceit in noir, and one this film does little to undermine.

No comments:

Post a Comment