What Richard Did (15) 88 mins ****
Irish director Lenny Abrahamson here follows up cult gems Adam & Paul and Garage with something serious: a deft and atmospheric study of a teenager getting out of his depth. Born into boho privilege, Richard (Jack Reynor) is the natural leader of his provincial rugby-club gang: while the lads merely look up to this solid alpha, the girls fancy him rotten. A relationship with the pretty Lara (Roisin Murphy) seems promising, but the way he looks at her suggests something’s amiss; when violence breaks out at a party, Richard finds the burden of adult responsibility atop his broad scrumhalf’s shoulders.
Sensitively adapted by Malcolm Campbell from Kevin Power’s novel Bad Day in Blackrock, it’s the most conventional film Abrahamson has so far made, yet still markedly different from comparable teenpics. Absent is Kidulthood’s stabby sensationalism; instead, there’s a near-Scandinavian, Hamlet-like sense of brooding, underlined by this director’s ever-sharp eye for landscape, and the presence of Lars Mikkelsen (Mads’ brother, The Killing’s Troels Hartmann) as Richard’s da. A life is at stake here, and Abrahamson, Campbell and the charismatic Reynor give it compellingly authentic shape: you’ll likely know someone exactly like Richard.
What Richard Did opens in selected cinemas from today, and is also available via Curzon on Demand here.