DIR/WRI: Tom Hall • PRO: Katie Holly, Kieron J. Walsh • DOP: Benito Strangio • ED: Nathan Nugent • DES: Tamara Conboy • CAST: Domhnall Gleeson, Luanne Gordon, Patrick Ryan, Owen Roe, Kelly Campbell, Eleanor Methven
The second feature by writer/director Tom Hall, Sensation tells the story of a Tipperary farmer who trades in his wellies for a pimping cane.
Domhnall Gleeson plays a shy and randy 26-year-old, Donal Durkan, who’s been left his family’s land after his father passes away. Not quite a boisterous ladies’ man, like his buddy Karl (Patrick Ryan), Donal ends up striking out with the fairer sex and instead orders a professional for a ‘full service’ with his newfound wealth.
What begins as a just another job for seasoned, sex-worker Kim (Luanne Gordon), thanks to some burly gangsters, quickly grows into an unlikely friendship. Using Donal’s inheritance and Kim’s knowledge of the trade, the pair make big plans to open a local brothel – although things don’t quite go as planned for the budding entrepreneurs.
Although Sensation starts slowly, offering some excruciatingly uncomfortable moments in the beginning, the pace really picks up making it a strong, gripping drama. Overall the performances are excellent, however Donal’s descent from odd misanthrope into shrewd businessman is somewhat unnatural. This can be easily forgiven as the developing chemistry of the anti-heroes adds an unexpected sweetness to the film – leaving it just shy of tragic.