Monday, 21 January 2013

Review - What Richard Did (2012 - Dir. Lenny Abrahamson)

What Richard Did is not that interesting really. It's the Irish version of Paranoid Park. But without skateboards. Not quite as bad as the aforementioned film for moping teenageryness, although it gets close.

Based on a true incident the story centres around Richard (Jack Reynor) a slightly dubious upper middle-class fellow who is popular, but has an unpleasant urge to thieve other gentlemen's lady friends. He is reminiscent of the amoral Arthur in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Reynor even looks a tad like a young Albert Finney. One evening he has a tiff with his stolen girlfriend and we find out just what that little tinker Richard did.

In real life his situation would be fairly upsetting. In a film, it all comes as an anti-climax, more of a drunken accident than anything else. It doesn't help that the whole thing is generally boring. This is how boring: I spent most of the time looking at technical details such as working out what lens they used and trying to approximate the f-stop that they shot at. Riveting.

For saddo camera perverts like me it's not too tricky to work out. The majority of the film is shot with such a shallow depth of field that you end up watching character's heads against a very blurry background with no visual interest for most of the running time. (I didn't exactly have to try hard to find examples of this for the screen shots.) Okay, that's maybe on the harsh side but I came out of the cinema feeling that way so it must be bad.

So has it got anything going for it? There is a smattering of good acting lurking around. Richard losing it in his parent's holiday home is powerful stuff and Lars Mikkelsen as Richard's dad is fairly impressive throughout. Even then, these two are guilty of looking like they're acting at times. Apart from that, it hasn't got much else. Is it really a surprise that some posh, silver spoon sucking, rugby playing lads would perform the titular dastardly deed? Surely all of that drunken mindless violence is for those dirty working class people. 

For me, it committed the cardinal sin of being dull. I was expecting a solid drama not an action film, (Shooting the Past is stunningly slow and yet engaging throughout) but I must admit that some death-dealing, acid-spitting ninjas would have spiced things up no end.

If you like this you could also try:
Paranoid Park, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

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