Friday, 2 October 2015

No.245 : What Richard Did

What Richard Did at the IMDb

 If you regard knowing ‘What Richard Did’ as a spoiler, walk away now as it would be hard to discuss the film without mentioning the pivotal event. You’d probably guess anyway - it’s hardly going be that he cheated at Scrabble or something.

This is an Irish film from 2012 with an unknown cast and an almost drama-documentary approach to the storytelling. The characters all chat over each other and there is very little in the way of music, something that draws you in and makes you feel like an onlooker to actual events.

The titular Richard is a young Irish rugby player. He has rich parents who own a beach house and he is the leader of his group of pals. They all look up to him and we see him carrying out good deeds such as taking a youngster under his wing and helping a girl on the verge of being date raped. These philanthropic traits are however seen in a different light later on when his skills at lying as used for less worthy goals and he is also seen to have weaknesses of his own.

The first half hour of the film is taken up with Richard and his friends heading to the beach house having bought a cargo of beer. You wonder what the point of it all is, as it trundles along with meandering scenes and largely pointless dialogue. It does well at setting the tension levels however as you are keen to know what it is that he did and when he’s going to do it - it’s Itchy and Scratchy heading to the fireworks  factory all over again!

Although handsome, fit and a friend to all we gradually get the idea that Richard maybe isn’t all he’s cracked up to with throwaway comments about people’s accents and bulimics suggesting he may be more of a dick than we initially thought. Things come to a head when he jealously sits at a party watching his new girlfriend chat to friends including a former boyfriend, and team mate of Richard, Conor.

After brooding outside the party for a while Richard confronts Conor and the two fight. After Conor gets a beating from Richard with the aid of his rugby mates, Richard gives him a final kick to the head before heading home. The next morning they learn that Conor has died of his injuries and the remainder of the film deals with the fallout. Will Richard come clean to the police or will he try to escape the consequences of his actions?

I enjoyed this moral drama and, although slightly ambiguous in its ending, I’m sure that the seeds peppered throughout the film pointed towards Richard’s character flaws dictating his final response. Although hanging on one event and decision the 85 minute film didn’t seem padded with a lot of effort put into the character development that ensured the subsequent revelations were well earned.

There were lots of scenes that ended abruptly or seemed to have little relevance but the compound effect of these was to make you feel like a voyeur peeping into the lives of others. The acting was top notch and Jack Reynor did a good job as Richard, making him likable but objectionable all at once.

At the end I don’t think there was much in the way of ambiguity and you could level accusations against the film of not having much to say. It is however an intense character piece and a great example of someone being built up and then slowly dismantled by his flaws.

‘W’ Rating 17/23
Best bit : Going for the 3 points!

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