Title – What Richard Did (2012)
Director – Lenny Abrahamson (Frank)
Cast – Jack Reynor, Roisin Murphy, Lars Mikkelsen
Plot – Young adult Richard Karlsen (Reynor) has it all until a decision he makes one fateful night changes his life forever.
“How could this happen to me?”
Review by Eddie on 21/04/2014
An understated, meticulously made Irish film, What Richard Did is a haunting tale that is in its structure too cold for its own good but also in scenes that can only be provided as gut wrenchingly raw impressively effective and a showcase for the young acting talent that is Jack Reynor.
A major hit in its home country upon release and later on in its life cleaning up at the 2013 Irish Film and Television Awards with 5 big wins, Lenny Abrahamson’s (keep an eye on this filmmaker with his upcoming film Frank creating some very decent hype) film is a unique and realistic look into a young life that will forever be changed due to the films centring act that is based upon an all too familiar true life event. The film asks a lot of its audience in its short 80 minute run time as director Lenny Abrahamson is in no hurry to tell the tale of Richard. The film doesn’t adhere to normal narrative structure and we don’t know a whole lot about who Richard or others in the film are yet what we do end up knowing about them is just enough to care and be affected by their situations that play out in such a realism that it would be impossible not to be moved by the occurrences. Abrahamson can take credit for this but major notices must be made of the films young star Reynor as the titular Richard.
Reynor’s performance in What Richard Did was enough to not only earn him praise in his home country but subsequent to the success of this venture Reynor moved straight into big screen behemoth Transformers: Age of Extinction and will likely be seen in more of the same to come. Reynor is a revelation here as the smart, in love and eventually tortured young man displaying a wide range of acting attributes that suggest a long career is to follow. A scene towards the later part of the film at Richard’s family’s beach house is particularly impressive with Reynor expressing a burst of internal emotion that will leave you feeling just as shell-shocked as the young man is.
Professionally filmed, scored to perfection and acted with class from all involved What Richard Did is a fine film that is held back its sparseness at times and a conclusion that feels like a missed opportunity to provide something truly heart wrenching. For a film about youth and all the troubles that can come with it and a tale about life changing decisions it is top quality stuff and it’s always a joy to see a new young actor of considerable talent ply their trade and set their career on a path that hopefully makes good use of some undeniable talent.
3 and a half Irish beers out of 5