Today: February 25, 2024

What Richard Did

We’ve seen a real resurgence of character-driven films recently.

We’ve seen a real resurgence
of character-driven films recently.
Although expected in the likes of Tinker Tailor’s subtle depiction of
mistrust, the fact that even blockbusters like Avengers Assemble devote a fair amount of time to making sure their
prize assets are well-rounded indicates just how important getting
characterization is. So Lenny Abrahamson’s
latest – a study of guilt and regret – feels perfectly timed.

Popular teenager Richard (Jack Reynor) has it all; a loving girlfriend (Roisin Murphy), a loyal group of friends and a caring family. So
when one drunken act threatens to tear that world apart, Richard has to decide
whether to face the consequences of his actions.

Given that the film’s ambling plotline rests on that
pivotal act mid-way through, it’s fair to say that the time spent early on
establishing Richard’s comfortable passing of a hazy summer is certainly well
spent. It’s only when it comes crashing down that the film feels the need to
wrap things up a little too quickly.

Had Abrahamson spent more time exploring the
consequences on others involved (a scene late on in a church hints at what
might have been) then What Richard Did
might have been a stunning slow-burner in the mould of last year’s fabulous The Hunt.

Instead, despite a powerful performance from newcomer
Reynor and The Killing’s Lars
Mikkelsen,
sharing
many of the film’s best scenes, at just over 80 minutes, the denouement feels a
little flat and unresolved.

Perhaps,
given the difficult dilemma, that’s the point though; it’s just that for a film
which explores what Richard did,
exploring what he didn’t do in a
little more depth would have had us talking about a terrific film rather than
just a terrific performance in a pretty good one.

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