Movie Review: A Brit Thriller Guaranteed not to cause a “Sensation”

The only thing keeping every member of the cast of “Game of Thrones” from having her or his own movie to star in is a lack of chutzpah in the outliers’ agents.

Eugene Simon, once Lancel Lannister on TV, is on his third film post-“GOT,” misleadingly titled “Sensation.” It follows “The Lodgers” and the dark ensemble comedy “Kill Ben Lyk.”

It’s a drabber-than-drab DNA-driven “special” people fantasy, and it’s not stretch to say the material leaves him drab in it. “Sensation” is so lifeless and pointless as to make one ponder “What is the half-life on a ‘Game of Thrones’ career bounce?”

Simon’s Andrew Cooper, an intense London postman curious about his ancestry. But getting the “results” of his test proves to be a test in itself.

The bullying older man who insists he be addressed as “DOCTOR Marinus” (Alastair B. Cumming) is all obfuscations, threats and contempt.

“All data is the property of the company,” he sneers. And his “program” has “flagged certain characteristics” in the lad’s genetic makeup that mean “You are coming with us.”

Cooper, without “any idea” of how he’s doing it, snaps bones and bests the “muscle” Marinus has brought along in case the kid gives him any backtalk.

We puzzle over why Cooper still gets in the car with these creeps, despite having abilities he didn’t realize he had.

We wonder what’s up with his eyes, which wobble wildly when he takes in information, and about his manic violin playing, something he “just (copies) videos I watch” to master.

And we fret over this English manor house where people like him have been gathered “for study” by the expressionless supervisor Nadia (Emily Wyatt). It’s the sort of place where people with “special” senses and “abilities” are told “No one’s holding you here” when we can plainly see several someones are.

The “tests” the talented undergo there involve scenarios transmitted into their heads that have them thinking they’re shooting someone or witnessing somebody tossed off a double-decker bus, all while they’re confined to the grounds of this “institution.”

Like Cooper, we wonder what they want with him and how much of what he’s experiencing is real and what is merely induced-hallucination.

Director and co-writer Martin Grof (“Excursion”) has no effects budget here, so simple digital edits take Cooper in and out of scenarios, with music “selling” the transformation (not even close) we’ve just witnessed.

The “training” these subjects undergo at this facility are rendered in exercises too bland to mention. The action beats — aside from the “Is this real?” questions — are dull.

Among the cast, only the sinister Cumming (“What a Cirus”) stands out, and his character all but vanishes after the first act.

With the release of “Sensation,” Eugene Simon can take comfort on last month’s news that HBO has signed George RR Martin for six possible spinoff series. That doesn’t do the Slovak director Martin Grof any good, but at least his star could have a future in Westeros.

MPA Rating: unrated, violence, some profanity

Cast: Eugene Simon, Emily Wyatt, Jennifer Martin and Alastair G. Cumming

Credits: Directed by Martin Grof, script by Magdalena Drahovska, Martin Grof. A GROFilm release.

Running time: 1:35

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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