You might recognise Domhnall (son of Brendan) Gleeson, the star of SENSATION, from his role as Bill Weasley in the HARRY POTTER flicks. Well, get that image of wholesome family entertainment right out of your mind, because SENSATION is altogether more bleak, more raw, and more uncomfortable to watch. Domhnall plays a feckless young man who inherits a crumbling, shitty little farm in the Irish countryside, and the first thing he does with his new money is hire a hooker. Nervous and anxious in her company, he soon affects a startling transformation into a pimp - slick clothes, new flat, a couple more prostitutes. The mechanics are shown in a very matter-of-fact way - in particular the way in which new girls are recruited, fitted out, and put to work before they can even catch their breath or form any regrets. As the film reaches its conclusion, we see the rozzers close in on Donal and Kim, and their true colours revealed. As in the way of these movies, the hooker turns out to have more integrity than the punter, and our suspicions about who's really exploiting whom are confirmed.
SENSATION is trying to do a couple of things - it's trying to be a black comedy about an idiot boy turning shark and it's trying to be social realist in its portrayal of lonely rural men using prostitutes. The pace didn't slacken and it was an interesting watch, but I can't say that it was particularly memorable. I think the problem is that it isn't consistently funny enough as a comedy, nor is it gritty enough as a social expose. Moreover, the emotional arc is entirely predictable. So, as much as I admire the film-makers for tackling such a subject head on, I can't say this is a movie that particular deserves a wider release. But I'll be looking forward to director Tom Hall's next effort, and I really liked DP Benito Strangio's bleak cinematography.
SENSATION has no commercial release date yet.
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