The sexually repressed of Ireland get a very rude awakening this week as Irish coming-of-age film Sensation hits cinemas.
Upon his father’s death, a lonely young farmer Donal (Gleeson) grabs the opportunity to indulge his wildest, internet-fuelled fantasies when he books a liaison with an escort girl, ‘Courtney’ (Gordon). He enjoys the experience, and her company, so much that he wastes no time in - putting his cash with her know-how - opening up a brothel.
However, Pretty Woman it ain’t and instead of rescuer millionaires, Tom Hall’s film is a much more realistic affair. His characters, particularly Donal and his friend Karl (Ryan) are flawed, consistently choosing the hedonistic option over the virtuous, regardless of the consequences. Trust is in short supply and all the fun n' frolics come at a high price.
True Grit and Harry Potter star Gleeson is as we’ve never seen him before; explicit and intriguing, as he grows on screen from meek, introverted, sexually repressed loner to a confident, promiscuous pimp.
His deadpan performance, alongside Gordon’s stellar Kim, lends perfectly to the comedy in writer/director Hall’s great script. As his IFTA win earlier this year indicated, Gleeson is one to watch and his next two films, Shadow Dancer and Anna Karenina, should be eagerly anticipated.
There is nothing coy about the sex scenes throughout, with little, although thankfully a smidgen, left to the imagination. The lack of big name talent may hinder the film’s success abroad which is a pity, as it portrays a realistic side of modern-day Ireland, rarely explored on the big screen.