What Richard Did - Blu-ray Review

'What does Richard do after he does what he does? The answer, apart from a well-portrayed the-morning-after segment, is not much, save from continue to be shot in pastel shades on a variety of beaches.'

As an exercise in nomenclature, you would have to say that What Richard Did is pretty successful. For absolutely no reason other than its title, the opening half hour or so, as we build up to what Richard (Jack Reynor) does, is pretty tense. Richard is clearly going to do something. If you think it's going to be something good, with that title, then there's a lesson in portent waiting for you right here.

This approach though leaves something of a quandary. Is What Richard Did's opening half hour success a success for the director, Lenny Abrahamson, and other creative elements on the film, or a success for the marketing department? It's one that's open to either argument, but I personally found myself slightly cynically siding with the latter. The novel this is based on, Bad Day In Blackrock by Kevin Power, perhaps has an equally manipulative title but during the decision to change it would the braver option not have been to go with Richard or Blackrock, or something similar and let the film and Abrahamson live or die on their own merits? If What Richard Did had to generate its own tension, could it? Would it want to? The fact that those questions now can't be answered speaks to me of a failure; of commerce over-riding art.

There is a release point after Richard does what he does and the question around the film changes: what has this got apart from some fairly cheap manipulation around the title and opening thirty minutes? What does Richard do after he does what he does? The answer, apart from a well-portrayed the-morning-after segment, is not much, save from continue to be shot in pastel shades on a variety of beaches. Abrahamson seems uninterested in showing any of the direct or indirect, emotional or physical consequences of Richard's actions, and on the rare occasions he does the scenes are terribly handled. Richard's breakdown at his beach house is not a fine moment for Reynor and his Dad's (a miss-cast Lars Mikkelsen) panic in their garden is similarly poor. Richard meanwhile continues as a relatively annoying jock.

Though it is at times well written, What Richard Did is perhaps inevitably characterised by what Richard doesn't do. He never gets under our skin as someone we hate, nor in our hearts as someone we can feel sorry for. We just don't see enough of him. At times yes, he is bad and at times he seems good. The message that the random nature of his downfall, and other people's within the film, could happen to anyone hits home but little else does. What Richard does is pretty horrible, but What Richard Did is fairly unremarkable.





By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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