C’mon guys, you know it’s happened to you. You cried over the break-up with your first girlfriend. I’m guessing it happened to me as well, I just don’t remember it. My wife says I’m devoid of feelings — an emotional black hole, if you will — so there is a very good possibility that I didn’t give a shit when my first girlfriend broke up with me. For the rest of you who do recall the pain, Cashback is for you. It’s for me too, but for an entirely different reason.
Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”) has just been through a nasty break-up with his longtime girlfriend, Suzy (Michelle Ryan). At the moment it seemed like the right thing to do (it always does), but his conscious gnaws at him until he can longer sleep at night. Upon the realization there is no chance for resurrection (she’s already begun to bang someone else); he gets a job at a local supermarket to pass the time late at night. Here he gathers information from those around him to escape reality. He learns:
- To do anything and everything but what you are paid to do. The markets’ resident idiots Barry (Michael Dixon) and Matt (Michael Lambourne) play pranks on employees and customers and run around wildly
- Looking at any of the clocks in the store is bad. Sharon (Emilia Fox) simply refuses to look at any clocks. Watching the time pass is like trying to watch water boil — it just doesn’t seem to happen
- Do something you love. Jenkins (Stuart Goodwin), the manager, thinks the work he does is important and therefore he is important. Work is great when you think you are actually making a difference
Ben takes all of these ideas and creates his own. He simply freezes time in his head. This allows him to do what he loves — draw the interesting people he sees — to pass the time. This is quite nice because his focus is solely on women and during his time stoppages women become naked. And let me tell you, his choice in women is outstanding. As everyone who has read one my reviews knows, I love nudity. Thankfully and surprisingly, Cashback has plenty of it. So much so, that I almost felt guilty and had to watch over my shoulder to ensure the wife wasn’t lurking about.
And while I’m not a big fan of movies with voice overs, I really didn’t mind it here. That’s because Ben’s inner voice wasn’t preaching something to me, it was asking simple questions while the body searched for answers. Questions we’ve all asked — why does love hurt?; why do we search for it again and again?; is there such a thing as true love?; why are we here, is there a plan? And while Cashback doesn’t really answer these questions, it’s great to watch the search unfold.
For those of you reading this movie review that are looking for a funny, offbeat, irreverent movie that doesn’t take itself seriously, Cashback is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (and it’s not just because of the naked girls either). It’s great to see independent work rewarded (the short movie was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 and a full movie was commissioned shortly afterward). If writer/director (Sean Ellis) can keep it up, he’ll have a very promising future in cinema. I’m anxious to see his current project “The Broken” due in theaters sometime in 2008.