What Richard Did (15)


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The Independent Culture

Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's third feature builds on the promise of his previous two, Adam and Paul and Garage: he's one of the most accomplished young film-makers around.

Where once he focused upon dropouts during Ireland's boom, now he examines a privileged Dublin enclave in the years of downturn.

Excellent newcomer Jack Reynor plays Richard, a handsome, well-to-do charmer who's just left school and seems about to carry all before him. He's got a car, the run of his family's beach house and plenty of friends to share it with, including Lara (Roisin Murphy), a girl he's just stolen from under the nose of a rugby-club rival. But following a ruckus at a drunken party his promising future is suddenly in tailspin.

Adapting from a novel by Kevin Power, Malcolm Campbell's script develops a sharp undertow of dread as the aftermath of what Richard did starts to haunt. It's a morality tale which trusts the audience to deduce the moral. Reynor, who's in nearly every scene, holds the centre as high-flying Richard contemplates his fall from grace, but slowly, agonisingly.

Note also a touch of Scandinavian TV suspense in its silences and ellipses, enhanced by the presence of Lars Mikkelsen (from series one of The Killing) as Richard's father. Seriously good.