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The glass may be half empty but it will contain good whiskey. I write film reviews for http://www.scannain.com/ , say hi and we can debate films forever and ever and ever...... Warning this blog may contain more than just film talk.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Film Review - Sensation (2010)

It is an endless source of fascination as to why we in Ireland wrap up wonderfully grim dramas in the broad appeal of comedies. Films such as In Bruges, I Went Down and to a lesser extent The Butcher Boy have hid their real intentions particularly in their respective trailers. This is probably due to the fact that Irish people have a sense of humour that could be described as mordant.

In the case of Tom Hall's new film Sensation, we get an outrageous and funny opening scene that sees Donal (Domhnall Gleeson) pleasuring himself in a field full of sheep. With this scene you could be forgiven for thinking you are in for a farcical sex comedy that come along regularly in the UK (the awful Sex Lives of the Potato Men springs to mind). Instead what we get is a beautifully judged film on the difficulties of making a connection with another human being. With lots of what Simon Bates used to tell us on VHS back in the 1980s as sexual swear words.

The plot concerns Donal, a farmer's son, who after his dad dies, spends a lot of time online in chat rooms. It is from this that he plucks up the courage to call an escort Courtney (Luanne Gordon) and arrange a meeting. The meeting in a restaurant at first in an superbly funny scene involving a chicken kiev. They hook up a couple of times and before long a plan is formed for a partnership in an escort business. He has the money and she has the business experience. Donal brings in his best friend Karl (Patrick Ryan) and new girls are picked up.

Sensation is a brave film. For all of Ireland's great strides into the 21st century our country is still a little prudish when it comes to sex. And this film hits you with some full on scenes. It is commendable that Tom Hall has made this film with an 18 certificate. It is an adult film in every sense and all the better for the fact that it is not watered down in any way. The main characters are not particularly likeable in this film which makes it so much more interesting as the film progresses.

The main actors acquit themselves very well in challenging roles with Gleeson in particular superb in his first lead role. There is a wonderful close up of Donal towards the end of the film in which he stands outside the door while Courtney has sex with a customer. The jealous, rage and impotence that he feels is brilliantly shown by Gleeson as he stands there helpless.

The only real issue with the film is that the ending becomes a little too cliched. It seems to lose its nerve slightly towards the climax which is a shame because what came before is really good. Sensation is a film that rewards viewing with an audience in a cinema, all the more for the cringing and uncomfortable laughs that arrive very regularly. If films of this standard become the norm in Ireland we could hopefully see more reach cinemas on a regular basis.


  1. Well I saw it last night(on Spanish tv) and I liked it. I try to see all Irish and British films...and European far from the USA violent movies.
    "Sensation" has a quite original script.
    Juanjo, from Bilbao(Basque Country)

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