The Irish shine at Tribeca Film Festival - 'Byzantium', 'What Richard Did' and 'Run and Jump' reviewed
Cahir O'Doherty reviews Irish films at Tribeca Film Festival, chats with Lenny Abrahamson
Three exciting new Irish films had the Tribeca Film Festival crowds buzzing. 'What Richard Did' is an intense fictional telling of an all too real story about a deadly assault in Dublin. Also screened was Irish director Neil Jordan’s 'Byzantium,' with Saoirse Ronan as a 200-year-old teenage vampire. 'Run and Jump,' one of the most distinctive new Irish films about love and marriage seen in years, also made a big impression. Cahir O'Doherty reviews the three films and talks to the award winning Irish director Lenny Abrahamson.
By the end of this year the name of Dublin-born director Lenny Abrahamson, 47, will probably be familiar to you as Neil Jordan’s or Jim Sheridan’s. That’s if he isn’t already.
After all, Abrahamson has made some of the most striking new Irish films of the last decade, including 'Adam and Paul' and 'Garage.' But at last week’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York Abrahamson became the toast of the circuit for 'What Richard Did,' his immensely skilful examination of Irish teens and the fatal romantic jealousies that erupt without warning among them.
Abrahamson’s star is on the rise. Currently he’s directing Michael Fassbender alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhnall Gleeson in 'Frank,' a highly anticipated new film about a young wannabe musician (Gleeson) who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the enigmatic Frank (Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal).
But first there’s 'What Richard Did.' Based loosely based on Kevin Power’s book 'Bad Day in Blackrock,' a fictionalized account of the notorious real-life deadly assault on Irish teen Brian Murphy outside the Burlington Hotel in Dublin in 2000. Abrahamson’s film won the Best Irish Film of the Year award at the 10th Irish Film and Television Awards and has gone on to become the most commercially successful Irish film of 2012.
That homegrown success looks like it’s about to be replicated here when 'What Richard Did' opens on May 10. Telling the story of a privileged and handsome Dublin teen with supportive parents who clearly dote on him, a group of rugby playing friends who think he can do no wrong and a golden future seemingly straight ahead, the film ends up critiquing social class and the moral collapse of a nation that prefers appearances to the truth.
In particular great things are expected for the film’s young breakout star Jack Reynor, 21, who has just been cast in the new 'Transformers' movie based on the strength of his performance in the Irish film.
“In the film Richard is the most popular boy in school, the most celebrated in his group,” Abrahamson tells the Irish Voice.
“I went to a similar kind of school to Richard, I grew up around the kind of boys he does. I know that world and I remembered the kind of pressure they were under. Having that kind of charmed life makes you particularly ill-equipped to deal with setbacks and difficulties when they arise. Particularly in having to come to terms with your own failures as a person. It becomes catastrophic for him when he behaves badly.”
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