In the last ten years Lenny Abrahamson has emerged as one of Ireland’s most prolific directors, having made his breakthrough with films Adam and Paul and Garage. Where those films focused on the marginalised in Irish society, his latest, What Richard Did is set among the wealthy class in South Dublin.
Richard (Jack Reynor) seems to have it all. He’s a gifted student and talented rugby player, has a close circle of friends who admire him and has just started dating the lovely Lara (Roisin Murphy). During the summer transition between school and college, he and his friends fill their days partying and hanging out at his parents’ beach house. Life, at that moment, is one big party for Richard.
However, the fact that Lara remains on good terms with her ex-boyfriend creates feelings of insecurity in Richard and so every smile or friendly word exchanged between the two is construed as something deeper in his eyes. His growing jealousy eventually leads to a confrontation at a party one night which gets out of hand, resulting in tragedy and leaving Richard reeling in horror at what he’s done. In the days that follow, Richard faces an agonising decision as he struggles with his guilt while trying desperately to hold on to his future.
What Richard Did is loosely based on Kevin Power’s book, Bad Day in Blackrock and provides a thoughtful examination on the consequences of our actions and the inability to hide from one’s own conscience. Abrahamson draws strong naturalistic performances from his young cast, particularly Reynor who is surely a star in the making, his portrayal lending a realism which makes the events depicted all the more compelling to watch.
What Richard Did is a powerful drama which is emotionally gripping and will stick in your memory long after the film ends.
Winner of five awards at the IFTAs 2013 including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor.
What Richard Did will be screened at The Source Arts Centre in Thurles on Wednesday, 10th April at 11am and 8pm.