“What Richard Did” follows a role-model athlete into a party, and after a violent drunken spasm of jealousy, a rugby teammate is dead. Director Lenny Abrahamson’s second feature shifts from a light airy palette on the beaches near Wicklow to darkening tones as his story devolves from jostling bonhomie into death and guilt. Newcomer Jack Reynor is Richard Karlsen, a team leader who can’t contain his surging emotions when there’s competition for dark-haired Lara (Roisin Murphy). After a brawl goes too far and the police investigate, omerta sets in among the mates who witnessed the fight, putting a few new wrinkles in the age-old theme of Irish guilt. Reynor, who just signed with WME, played the role of Richard when he was 19, the same age as his character. He and Abrahamson plumb the dark side of a bright, popular kid who seemed destined for success. DP David Grennan and Abrahamson have a fine touch with the volatile ensemble dynamics of kids with high energy, quick tempers and the fragile vulnerability of youth. You come out of “What Richard Did” searching for an Irish word for karma. Criticwire grade: B+ [David D’Arcy]
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