Richard Harris Film Festival: ‘What Richard Did’


Eileesh Buckley reports from the screening of Lenny Abrahamson’s What Richard Did at the recent Richard Harris Film Festival in Limerick.


The screening of What Richard Did at the Richard Harris International Film Festival (RHIFF) had an enthusiastic audience of filmmakers that included the Harris Family (Jared, Jamie and Ella).  The location of 69 O’Connell Street seemed apt for the screening of this film as it was here that many a Limerick actor has made their name and now Jack Reynor will follow in that vein. Surprisingly there were no speeches at this screening, which was a pity.

Many of those involved in the short film session returned for screening. This award-winning Irish feature film launched the acting career of Jack Reynor, and increased the profile of director Lenny Abrahamson.

As expected the similarities in the story to the infamous Annabels/David Murphy tragedy still echo as strongly as ever. While the film is based on a fiction novel, the premise is eerily similar.

Reynor is the titular Richard whose moment of madness changes his own life as well as his friend’s.

The entirety of the film is from the perspective of Richard and the audience knows only what he knows. At the start he is the dashing knight rescuing fair maiden from the unwanted attentions of a boy who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.By the end his soul has been tortured and his morals more than tarnished.

The supporting cast come in and out of focus as the film progresses, the original trio of friends reduces to a duo and eventually a solo.The girls seem to be fated to draw the worst behaviours from the boys over the longterm.The D4 stereotypes abound, from the rugby players to the beachside holiday home, and rampant alcohol consumption seems to be acceptable.

Since the release of this film a number of those involved have had an extensive list of high-profile projects. Abrahamson released the critically acclaimed Frank, starring Michael Fassbender this year, while Reynor has an eclectic list of projects ranging from Transformers to Macbeth.

Jared Harris later remarked on RTE’s Saturday Show how much he had enjoyed the film;  I’m sure Jack Reynor will be thrilled!



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