Dir: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Jack Raynor, Roisin Murphy & Sam Keeley
Lenny Abrahamson’s third feature, What Richard Did, confirms him as one of the best Irish film directors working today, as well as a leading social commentator on contemporary Ireland. In contrast to his previous features, the bleak black comedy Garage, and the sardonic junkie drama Adam and Joe, Abrahamson drops the comic undertones for his latest outing, playing it as a straight drama.
Richard (Raynor) is an 18 year old in wealthy South Dublin, with a bright future ahead of him and a large group of friends and admirers. One day, he meets Lara (Murphy) at a party and they instantly hit it off. Her ex-boyfriend, and his rugby teammate, Conor (Keeley) doesn’t take the news very well. Richard becomes increasingly jealous and annoyed by their friendship, until one fateful night at a house party when their lives are irrevocably changed.
Based on a novel by Kevin Power , What Richard Did is Abrahamson’s most accomplished work to date. Any hint of melodrama or soap opera is quickly extinguished by the leisurely pacing and otherworldly feel which inhabits the film. There is a great subtlety at work here, especially in the depiction of the disparity between the rich and the poor in contemporary Ireland. Raynor puts in a career-making turn, imbuing a stark sense of realism and claustrophobia to the role; his portrayal of the gamut of emotions Richard goes through is entirely believable. Indeed, the young cast all put in impressive performances.
However, what makes What Richard Did stand out is the strong sense of direction and maturity of the film-making. There is no need for closure. This is a cautionary tale as well as a social commentary, from a director who surely has a bright future ahead of him,
Screening now at http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/whatricharddid