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What Richard Did 2012

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3.9 out of 5 stars (30) IMDb 6.3/10
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What Richard Did follows Richard Karlsen, golden-boy athlete and undisputed alpha-male of his privileged set of South Dublin teenagers, through the summer between the end of school and the beginning of university. The world is bright and everything seems possible, until in one summer night Richard does something that destroys it all and shatters the lives of the people closest to him. Featuring extraordinary performances from its mainly young cast, What Richard Did is a quietly devastating study of a boy confronting the gap between who he thought he was and who he proves to be.

Starring:
Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 28 minutes
Starring Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley, Jack Reynor
Director Lenny Abrahamson
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA SALES
Rental release 15 April 2013
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 28 minutes
Starring Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley, Jack Reynor
Director Lenny Abrahamson
Genres Drama
Studio FUSION MEDIA SALES
Rental release 15 April 2013
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By KG TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 May 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This film seems to confirm and amplify Abrahamson's (Adam & Paul, Garage) considerable strengths as a film-maker, and,
to a lesser extent his frustrating weaknesses.

On the plus side, he is great with his actors, both in who he casts and what he gets out of them. His characters always feel
complex and real. He also sets up very convincing, morally ambiguous worlds, situations and people. No easy heroes and
villains.

But he also has a tendency to be drawn to melodramatic twists, and those actually make his films less interesting, not more,
as it feels like he's trying to force the emotional issues.

In many ways my favorite part of the film was the first 45 minutes before the central incident. Abrahamson excells at observing
and capturing the complexities of late teen-age life with subtlety and a fresh eye. These aren't the desperate angry street kids
of poverty, nor are they the morally bankrupt idiots we often see upper-class kids portrayed as. They feel real; they drink, but
they're not all alcoholics and stoners. They have sex, but more often than not it's attached to some sense of emotion, at graspings
towards being in a relationship. Their parents are flawed but trying. Its people as people, not just symbols, even though subtle
issues of class and social standing inform the whole story.

But when it gets to the big twists and the big themes, I felt it laboring more, working at it's effects instead of letting them happen.
Its not that the 2nd half isn't good,its that it lacks the power the set up and situation seems to promise. It sticks to it's ambiguity,
but that starts to feel just a touch like an intellectual conceit, not an exploration of darker human truths.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In Lenny Abrahamson’s thought-provoking What Richard Did (2012), Richard (Jack Reynor) lives a privileged life with his wealthy family and friends in Ireland. He’s handsome, charismatic and destined to play professional rugby. Yet an incident occurs that has the possibility of changing his dream life for the worse. Will Richard allow that to happen?

Malcolm Campbell’s script, adapted from Kevin Power’s novel Bad Day in Blackrock (2008), is superb. It starts almost as a slow burner, establishing the characters, showing us Richard’s perfect life, and hinting that it will only improve as he matures. Then the incident happens. Our muscles tighten and we want to shout “no” at the screen, urging, pleading, begging for it not to happen, but it does, and Campbell makes us experience the pain and heartache that all the characters feel.

Abrahamson’s film reminded me of the excellent novel This Is How (2009) by M. J. Hyland, which is the only piece of fiction I ever forgot that the protagonist Patrick was fictional, and for a moment, when not reading the book, I worried about him. After watching What Richard Did I continued thinking about Richard days after.

Reynor plays Richard with a smiling swagger. He makes us believe and care about him. The scene when he’s alone in the summer house is as sad and frightening as Martin Sheen’s famous drunk scene in Apocalypse Now (1979).

I adored What Richard Did. Unlike, say, Brian De Palma’s brilliant film Scarface (1983), which too captures the viewer and offers the most rounded of characters in Tony Montana, there’s always a distancing, as the majority of us will never become a Cuban drug lord. Whereas, with What Richard Did, the possibility of thoughtless, stupid mistakes are more plausible, although hopefully not.
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Sharing the central character's name meant I needed to discover what Richard did and I'm glad I did because it was a very decent film. It's essentially about a young man living a privileged life in Dublin. Richard's parents have provided a comfortable life, he has a great group of friends, he is well liked and respected and he's just met the perfect girl. What follows is a story about the split decisions we make at the height of our emotions, and the consequences of this on the world around us and the people we love. I thought Jack Reynor was superb in the central role, a character desperately trying to keep up the facade that everyone has grown so used to while at the same time his world is crumbling around him.
Having previously directed Garage, and later, Room, the director is skilled at creating fragile worlds where emotional and moral conflicts are heightened.
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Despite the intriguing title succeeding in its job of attracting my attention, the film’s storytelling is far from conventional. Initially I was irritated by the low-key naturalistic style of directing, almost self-indulgent and bordering on the ‘grating’, as we enter the complacent world of the self-confident, arrogant adolescent children of the prosperous social elite of Dublin. However, as the narrative progressed I gradually began to appreciate the slow, subtle and masterful way in which this compelling morality tale develops. Jack Reynor gives an admirable understated performance as the handsome rugby-playing alpha male protagonist whose misjudged split-second decision is at the heart of the film, the aftermath of which not only involves the participants in the dreadful act but also members of the immediate community. The film’s tone rapidly moves from a lethargic smug optimism to a bleak, tense, guilt-ridden exploration of Richard’s moral code as he struggles to decide on the right course of action. A deceptive, devastatingly brutal and honest film which is well worth seeking out and well worth staying with. Surprisingly, it is a film which lingers in the mind long after its viewing.
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