Friday, October 05, 2012

What Richard Did - Movie Review

Who's in it?

 Jack ReynorRoisin Murphy and Sam Keeley 

What's it About?

Based loosely on Kevin Power's novel Bad Day in Blackrock, Lenny Abrahamson tells the tale  of Richard Karlsen, an 18 year old privileged youngster from the South side of Dublin with a bright future ahead of him until his one senseless action has devastating consequences for all concerned.  

Any Good?

Shot in the leafy suburbs of south Dublin, Wicklow and Brittas Bay, What Richard Did is a credit to cinematographer David Grennon. Although slow burning, the atmosphere and suspense is always there, an undercurrent likely to change as quickly as the summer weather. 

Director, Lenny Abrahamson of Adam and Paul fame has once again captured the essence of a Dublin demographic, this time it's the moneyed youth of the south side, their friendships and their lives insulated from the everyday Irish worries until something goes very wrong. 

It's a credit to writer Malcolm Campbell too to show this group of happy, go lucky well off teens as 'loikable lads' despite the laboured D4 accents and their carefree lifestyle. The entire film feels like a snapshot of how these kids would actually interact with one another and that makes the stark reality of their actions all the more frightening. 

A lot of time is spent focussed on Richard, showing him as the undisputed alpha of the group. He's a born leader but a compassionate and caring friend, looking out for his mates and doling out advice as needed. When his teenage impulses shine through after too much drink at a house party though, events take a turn for the devastating. 

As the drama unfolds, the scenes almost slow down. Richard's yearning to turn back the clock and his struggle to grasp the enormity of what he has done is almost palpable. Jack Reynor is certainly an up and comer to watch. He played the character with intense conviction, so much so that when he showed up to the screening I wanted to slap him but then to hug him too. 

At the Q&A section of our screening I asked Lenny whether he thought if Conor's character was given more screen time before his death if the audience would feel quite so much empathy for Richard. His answer? 'That's a great question.' Very telling in and of itself that he's not making moral judgements or choosing sides here, he's merely giving us a beautifully shot, carefully constructed, terrifying tale for parents of teenagers everywhere. It's an incredible piece of work. 

What Richard Did opens in Irish cinemas today, October 5th. 



Unknown said...

Definitely one I want to see - love your reviews Sue xo

Anonymous said...

I saw this today, and I agree with your review. The actors were brilliant, not one moment felt too forced or overacted. I think anyone who watches it will be thinking about it for days afterwards.