The overriding sensations are those of loneliness, isolation and despair in Tom Hall’s heartfelt feature length directorial debut.
With the opening scene of Domhnall Gleeson masturbating in a field whilst looking after his Dad’s flock of sheep, we realise the film isn’t going to skirt around the subject of sex regarding the modern day male. Domhnall plays Donal (see what they did there) the son of a sheep farmer and the loneliest of all the shepherds in the fair land of Limerick. When his father dies suddenly Donal is left with a surplus of money and decides to spend it by availing of the services that Kim the Kiwi escort (Luanne Gordon) provides. An unlikely partnership forms between the two as they decide to go into business satisfying the needs of the local farming community.
Domhnall gives a brilliant and honest portrayal of social awkwardness resulting from a lack of friends and being isolated in a rural community. Tired of watching life pass him by, Donal has aspirations of moving up to Dublin in search of more and when Kim enters his world he feels he’s found it. Now admittedly most of us have never used an escort agency but if you can’t identify with Donal’s naivety and longing for affection then you’re just not being honest with yourself.
Sensation could have easily slipped into a typical mad cap Irish comedy or some bawdy “Carry on..” type nonsense but instead it’s a frank discussion on sex, intimacy and love. Luanne Gordon delivers a believable account of what drives women to prostitution, the risks, how easy it is to become trapped and the warts and all relationship that develops between the two is much more understandable as a result.
Now the film isn’t the most original as much of the ground has been covered before but the excellent performances by both Gleeson and Gordon, along with Hall’s measured writing, results in a rewarding tale of love in unconventional circumstances.
Country: Ireland / Directed By: Tom Hall / Written By: Tom Hall / Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Luanne Gordon and Patrick Ryan / 107 min / Drama / Release: 4 November (Ireland), unknown (UK/international)