What Richard Did

Art & Culture

This is a truly excellent Irish film that very much deserves to be seen, but needs a good push, because there’s nothing obviously to appeal to audiences in the title or the subject – apart from recommendations like this.

Richard is an 18 year old Irish youth from a good middle class family. He’s good looking, popular and captain of the rugby team – imagine a young Brian O’Driscoll. He has his own car, the family have a house near the beach which he uses with his friends, and there’s a girl he fancies who seems to fancy him, although there may be some slight previous complication there. In other words, his life is as good as it gets. And that’s how the film plays out for about half its running time.

Sounds dull? It’s anything but. It’s beautifully shot and scripted. All the interactions feel authentic and intriguing. We’re not gagging for something exciting to happen because we are happy with what we’re being given, and know that we’re in the hands of a film maker who knows what he’s doing. So when something happens that changes everything, it’s both a shock and not unexpected. It’s a turning point, after which nothing can ever be the same again, so obviously I’m not going to tell you what it is. And anyway the point is how Richard and the people around him react, which illustrates so much about people’s real character. It so much easier to be charming and loveable when everything’s going your way.

If I didn’t think it would sound pretentious I would describe the film as Dostoevskyan. One single moment changes a life, and things can and will never be the same again. All you can do is wish it had been different, and look deeper into your own soul than you ever expected to have to or wanted to. It’s a wonderful film which I recommend to anyone with intelligence, and an interest in the meaning and purpose of life. That’s you, right?


Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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