What Richard Did (2012)

# 14803 IMDb TV-MA 

What Richard Did (2012

By Lenny Abrahamson

Drama (1h 28min)

Ireland Ireland

Rated 6.3 after 4,172 votes on 29-Sep-18.

10 wins & 9 nominations


What Richard Did follows Richard Karlsen, golden-boy athlete and undisputed alpha-male of his privileged set of South Dublin teenagers, through the summer between the end of school and the beginning of university. The world is bright and everything seems possible, until in one summer night Richard does something that destroys it all and shatters the lives of the people closest to him. What Richard Did is a quietly devastating study of a boy confronting the gap between who he thought he was and who he proves to be.

Popular faces

Lenny Abrahamson (director) Jack Reynor Fionn Walton Patrick Gibson Liana O'Cleirigh Roisin Murphy Sam Keeley Aoife Duffin


From the same director


Jack Reynor (Richard Karlsen), Fionn Walton (Cian), Gavin Drea (Stephen), Patrick Gibson (Jake), Liana O'Cleirigh (Clodagh), Rachel Gleeson (Eimear), Billy Gibson (Oisin), Mella Carron (Sophie Kilroy), Roisin Murphy (Lara (as Róisín Murphy)), Eva-Jane Gaffney (Sask), Sam Keeley (Conor Harris), Aoife Duffin (Pub Landlady), David Fennelly (Boy in Cubicle), Michelle Doherty (Liv), Pádraic Delaney (Pat Kilroy), Lorraine Pilkington (Katherine Karlsen), Lars Mikkelsen (Peter Karlsen), David Herlihy (Brendan Harris), Gabrielle Reidy (Eileen Harris), Roisin McTeggart Donovan (Sarah (as Róisín Donovan)), Ruairi O'Connor (Niall), Toni O'Rourke (Zara), Leah Minto (Lara's Friend), Shaun Dunne (Milo), Peter Coonan (Bouncer)...


Malcolm Campbell (written by), Kevin Power (book)

Produced by

Ed Guiney (producer), Andrew Lowe (executive producer), Breda Walsh (line producer)


IMDb Comment

During the screening for What Richard did I was transported back in my minds eye to review the trailer for the movie. It featured glowing reviews by Irish critics announcing it to be the most important Irish film of the decade. Some may argue that that is simply a marketing tool to get the cinema-goer to purchase his/her ticket but in reality is it a true statement on the actual film?

Having finished watching the movie I pondered that question. I found myself reviewing the plot/characters and finally the ending and the answer I came up with is no. What Richard did is a well made film with some good cinematography and performances from the principle cast. But somehow I felt there was a missed opportunity that dropped it from being a great movie to simply being OK.

The central Triangle of Richard, Lara and her ex boyfriend for this reviewer just fell short. Perhaps the improvised nature of the performances at times hurt it a little as the actual act of violence when perpetrated felt a little strained and not immediate enough to sustain what follows. In fact you could say it was so brief to be deemed unimportant by Director Abrahamson. Strange as its the selling point of the entire movie and what the audience was waiting to witness 'what Richard did'. This distancing approach failed in that scene to illicite the power necessary to hold together the rest of the film.

Perhaps the biggest flaw seems to be the running time as it felt that the plot didn't quite survive the full length of the movie. some would argue then that It might have been even better as a short movie. The setup itself is not exactly original having been used many times before in other movies.

On a positive note there are some standout performances at times affecting and unsettling. Not quite as good as the critics would have you believe as there are flaws present.


Jack Reynor gained weight as filming progressed to show Richard's lack of control over himself following the incident that changed his life. Reynor's love of pies was instrumental in his physical change.

6 total 


10 wins & 9 nominations 
Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards • Evening Standard British Film Awards • Irish Film and Television Awards • Istanbul International Film Festival • Les Arcs European Film Festival • London Critics Circle Film Awards • Writers' Guild of Great Britain

Other titles

To mystiko tou Richard (Greece (festival title)) • Mit tettél, Richard? (Hungary) • Cosa ha fatto Richard (Italy) • O Que Fez o Richard (Portugal) • Что сделал Ричард (Russia)



Australia:MA15+ / Denmark:11 / Ireland:15A / Singapore:M18 / United Kingdom:15 / United States:TV-MA



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