Cashback Reviews

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Market Man
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2012
What a dumb movie. Not sure if the director is trying to be 'artistic' or if he's just a massive pervert. The latter is probably correct. It's a film with boring characters, pointless scenes (especially the soccer one), and terrible attempts at humor (the nude guy farting). It's a waste of time. I don't watch films to see how artistic they are, I watch them for entertainment like most people. What makes a film entertaining is a good plot and likable characters. Not the case here.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2012
Director Sean Ellis made an 18 minute short film in 2004 that won a plethora of International awards and received an Oscar nomination. Because of this, he decided to expand it to feature length and delivers a delightful little independent film.
Young artist Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff) breaks up with girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan) which leads to him developing insomnia. As sleep is hard to come by, he takes on a night-shift at the local supermarket where he develops ways to alter time and indulge in his artistic imagination.
The best way to describe this film lies in a direct quote from the protagonist himself; "Within this frozen world I'm able to walk freely and unnoticed. Nobody would even know that time has stopped. And when it started back up again, the invisible join would be seamless except for a slight shudder. Not unlike the feeling of somebody walking over your grave". And so begins, the journey of insomniac Ben Willis who stops time and undresses women to paint and sketch their female form. This is an imaginative and thoroughly rewarding little film from a promising new director. The New York Post compared Sean Ellis to "Clerks" director Kevin Smith, if he had "... a background in poetry and painting instead of Comic-books and bestiality jokes". It's a good comparison as this film is as fresh and engaging as Smith's earlier work. However, it's also a prime example of how films can be almost completely buried if it doesn't receive the right marketing campaign. Such a shame, that this hasn't gained a wider audience. It's a cleverly constructed and stylish debut with sharp dialogue and genuinely touching and hilarious moments. Ellis is a director that has now caught my attention and he draws excellent performances from a relatively unknown cast. The only apparent problem is over-length. To go from an 18min short to a 100min feature is a bit of a stretch and as a result, the film meanders toward it's conclusion. However, this is a small gripe in what is otherwise an inventive and sophisticated little drama.
Skilfully handled by everyone involved and the kind of film that warrants more attention. A vastly underrated little gem.
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2010
This film has recently enjoyed a renewal of interest, and is swiftly becoming a cult classic with a loyal following. Based off a short Ellis made, and won an Oscar for, he has expanded it and made an independent film that has changed the look of the genre. Good independent films, especially comedies, happen once in a long while, and they usually get the stuffing kicked out of them by critics. It's the audience that makes these films rise in prominence, and that's thanks to the ones who scour the festivals and write the reviews that give these films sufficient attention. Why am I putting so much emphasis on this fact? Because Cashback varies throughout, and though cute, stays on that fine line between obnoxious and highly original. It has the fairy tale sweetness of magic realism by enabling the main character to possess the ability to freeze time while also falling in love with his co-worker. It is about love, about understanding a relationship, about analyzing time and how your actions affect it. The characters are interesting, the plot stays plausible if not magical, and the writing is executed with an ear for the cute and cuddly, while retaining a human dignity for the main character, who has just ended a relationship that used to mean the world to him. Besides the fact that there is an air of disillusionment around Ben (Biggerstaff), I didn't really believe the bond between him and the cashier (Fox) who seamlessly fall in love in a millisecond. I could see some attraction based on mutual isolation from society and both of them being hopeless when it comes to love, but true love? I don't see that dynamic working out. Also, a lot of loose threads wound together. The best friend is added only as a token character, the boss is arrogant yet lacking in the film, and there are characters that appear just long enough to confuse and delay the ending. Beside those inconsistencies, I really enjoyed the light comedy and the sadness that effortlessly comes off Ben, who owns this film by being adorably tragic.
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2012
Ben Willis: I wanted to freeze time. I wanted to savor that moment, to live in that moment for a week. But I couldn't stop it, only slow it. And before I knew it, she was gone. After the door closed I felt like the last person on Earth. 

"Sometimes love is hiding between the seconds of your life"

Cashback is a movie that starts off with a lot of promise. It feels like it's going to be one of those great indie gems. It manages to be original and highly inventive. It feels fresh for an hour, and then... dullness. I fell completely out of love with the movie in the last 45 minutes or so. It never got to the point where I was hating what I was watching, but it did get to the point where I just didn't care anymore.

Ben breaks up with his girlfriend and goes into a bout of depression. In the weeks that follow, he can no longer sleep. He decides to take a night job at a grocery store to pass the eight hours when he can't sleep. He finds a way to pass his shifts by freezing time. Then he ends up falling for a fellow employee. 

The film does manage to be pretty original even when it reaches points of predictability. On a whole it isn't a bad experience. It's funny, at times. It's smart a lot of the time, and manages to hold ones attention. The initial set up was just a lot better than the sum of all the parts, and by the end I was underwhelmed by the final product. 

The acting is fairly good, and all the breasts are exquisite. But as a feature length film, it leaves a lot to be desired is all. Worth a look of you are into indies, but don't expect a great one.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2009
The short that the full length feature was based on is far more successful. It basically retains all the good bits without all the guff. It's more faithful to the original idea, it's cleaner and more pure - it actually makes the original look a bit shoddy on retrospect, full of filler and somewhat diluted.
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2007
Given the subject matter, the content of this short was very creative, a fantasist's eye who's outlook differs to others by his artistic talent. It seems this may have been called upon by partial experience perhaps.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2010
An artist breaks up with his girlfriend, and the resulting insomnia compels him to take a night job at an grocery store, where he discovers his power to freeze time.
Cashback is a brilliant, beautiful film that is able to raise teenage-wasteland aimlessness, adolescent sexual curiosity, and abject loneliness into moments of pure poetry. Normally I side Robert McKee on the use of voice-over, except when it is able to collaborate with the striking visuals, as Cashback's narration does.
But Cashback isn't just an exploration and celebration of female beauty and sexuality. There are some wonderfully hilarious, laugh-out-loud (and I never laugh out loud) scenes. Jenkins, Ben's douche-bag boss, is the victim of some slapstick done well, and Ben's roommate is an uproariously witty horn dog.
Unfortunately, the film does open a door that it never walks through when Ben discovers that he is not the only who can freeze time, but this is a minor flaw.
Overall, Cashback is the good version of Risky Business, a film of visual and spoken poetry.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2007
A charming little British comedy, originally a short film that won a lot of awards. So they decided to just expand it a lil to a full length film. Starring Michelle Ryan in a small role, the cast is largely unknown. It also caused a stir when released as it featured a topless model (Keeley Hazell) although very briefly. It does have a few nude scenes, but they are actually quite artfully done. It's a good story, with some nice ideas right from the opening break up scene. It uses a lot of different techniques film wise, the idea of freezing time is done well. It is quite funny, add a great soundtrack and I have to say I prefer this over 500 days of summer which was a bit similar in theme. Check it out.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2008
Interesting little film. Had some funny parts to it and I liked the surrealness of it, though I can say as an insomniac, highly unrealistic to think someone would take on a second job at night and function in that, let alone all day on no sleep for weeks on end. But I digress... this is a character who can "stop" time, so I don't think realism was high on the list when they wrote this!
It lost half a point for the boring and pointless sports match halfway through. I could not see where that even fit into the story, let alone want to watch it.
Had some really good and quirky characters and a nice love story in the end.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2010
I really liked this for being such a light-hearted movie that doesn't attempt to be all that original, yet somehow it is. The cast was great and there were a lot of touching moments. I like that this is basically one person's view on the world and you really get to see inside his mind.
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2009
I really donīt understand how can someone see art and beauty in such a movie!
Get "American Pie" or any other movie alike and add stupid soundtrack to give the characterīs silly break up/insomnia/life an artistic and dramatic (??) view. Were that instrumental songs supposed to make us feel sorry or connected to the characterīs "drama"? Honestly, it made me laugh. Later, I thought it could be really a joke to use the typical songs to specific moments/characters, but nope.

Half star for the paitings/drawings at the exposition in the last minutes of the movie.

Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2008
Odd but cute. Funny and intelligent in some places. I like it, I like it a lot.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2008
A decent flick. I liked the narration and the actors did a fine job.
It's a simple movie about relationships with a little bit of the fantastic thrown in.
I liked it.
Super Reviewer
½ June 16, 2007
A lovely surprise of a film, taking a look at the passage of time, the healing one must do after a break-up, and the inherent beauty of the female form. There is graphic female nudity on display, but not in a Porky's kind of way. It's more about the art of the form. Fun, warm, romantic and enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2007
"Once upon a time, I wanted to know what love was. Love is there if you want it to be. You just have to see that it's wrapped in beauty and hidden away in between the seconds of your life. If you don't stop for a minute, you might miss it"

Super Reviewer
July 5, 2007
Directed by: Sean Ellis.
Starring: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Michelle Ryan, Shaun Evans.

<< "I read once about a woman whose secret fantasy was to have an affair with an artist. She thought he would really see her. He would see every curve, every line, every indentation and love them because they were part of the beauty that made her unique." >>

The story follows Ben, a young man who is rather artistic and imaginative. When he has a horrible breakup with his girlfriend, it really affects him, he starts to get insomnia, can't stop thinking about her and soon decides to take a night shift at a supermarket, to help fill in the extra time he has gained...but soon he imagination starts to get going and he starts to bring out the beauty in the things around him.

This film just came as such a shock, because I seriously did not know what to expect. The cover appeals as a tad erotic and the synopsis makes it sound like the 'events' of the late shift that these characters do was to be some erotic tale of what to do to overcome boredom...I'm glad to have that surprise of more.

Its really a film I could look up to in some aspects. An independent filmmaker who had the luck and the skill to have won many short film awards for what was originally a short film , he seemed to show such a solid dedication to getting it made into a feature and this little gem comes right out of nowhere, with full force behind it from everyone involved, it really inspires me as a filmmaker.

Not everyone will enjoy this film, some may hate the central character, which isn't a good start for any film, some might find it too whimsy and pretentious and also think that what the main character does in his 'imaginative' times is cheap, but for others, like me, you will be gripped from the first frame and everything that follows is simply just beauty.

The film starts as you would expect, they introduce the main character. The basics of him start to flow slowly but of course we still don't know who he truly is, but Sean Ellis behind the camera really grips you no matter what, for many reasons of course, but the main one I saw, in both his direction and assurance. The beautiful score is melding perfectly with the opening frames and some of the artistic and creative choices are really amazing and show a nice visual touch (such brilliantly staged unbroken shots that blended so well) and the cinematography is just outstanding...and from there the film kicks into gear.

The characters are soon introduced when the main character starts his new job, we see more of who he really is and get a brief look at others, but to me, this is where it really got me. Take yourself away from the fantasy elements on the surface and wrap yourself around the undertones that beat nicely in the film, the characters are so full of life and are given such great dialogue, you really grip onto what and who they are and who they become throughout the film and we accept them because of such a nice touch put into them thanks to the team involved. What I especially gripped with the most was the central love story between the two main characters. Both with particularly different has all the time in the world available to him and simply steps back, takes his time and admires the beauty in the people around, while the other can't help but see how little time she might have if she doesn't pursue her dreams, yet theres such a nice little connection underneath them both and thanks to some great chemistry between the leads, it works really well.

The acting is pretty damn good. The sub-characters ain't the focus of the picture and are relatively simple, but the actors given to them do extremely well. Sean Biggerstaff is certainly stepping into bigger roles well and he has the right stance to attack them, good to see that I didn't think of his Harry Potter role...but the real surprise for me was Emilia Fox. Only seeing her in brief roles in other films, this performance really drew me in and added the perfect depth needed for this characters beauty, her eyes really do the work and of course she is beautiful as it is.

Cashback really surprised me. An independent film with an assured vision from its director/writer, nicely balancing fantasy, comedy and a love story, with enough creativity (and amazing cinematography) to boot. Light, but thoughtful.
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2007
I feel so insomniac just thinking about it. It's kind of magnificent, actually, with an artist's eye for details and a horde of beautiful women. A little 8 1/2, actually, except in a passive, glam-voyeur kind of way.
Super Reviewer
January 19, 2008
Cutesy movie, I liked the whole stopping time thing. A few too many random naked girls for me.
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2007
Pretty dumb. What's the point?
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