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Cashback
Cashback
Actors: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan, Stuart Goodwin
Director: Sean Ellis
Genres: Comedy, Drama
R     2007     1hr 42min

Art student Ben Willis develops insomnia after going through a painful break-up. To kill time he joins a colorful cast of characters on the late shift at the local supermarket. They all have their own time-killing devices ...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan, Stuart Goodwin
Director: Sean Ellis
Creators: Sean Ellis, Daphne Guinness, Lene Bausager, Marshall Leviten, Norman Merry, Peter Hampden
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Romantic Comedies, Love & Romance
Studio: Magnolia
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/24/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Garden State meets Showgirls
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 07/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 2006, the short film Cashback was nominated for a best live-action short Oscar. Writer/Director Sean Ellis then went on to spin the short about a night-shift worker in a supermarket into a feature about a night-shift worker in a supermarket. Using the same actors, and even most of the footage from the original short, Ellis adds a painful breakup to our hero's life, which brings on a case of incurable insomnia. Looking for a way to cash in on his inability to sleep, art student Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff) applies for a job at an all-night supermarket.

Anyone remember Saved By the Bell and Zack Morris's envy-worthy ability to utter the phrase "time-out" and thus freeze time? In Cashback Ben has this same ability, but he uses it in a much more libidinous way: to undress attractive women in the grocery store he works at and then draw their nude figures. Granted, these gratuitous scenes are not the crux of the film, but they're likely to be the most memorable to most viewers. As the camera slowly pans over (and back over) the striking nude female forms, the audience is to see Ben as an intrepid young artist, not as a peeping Tom. The artistic presentation of the women, and the flashbacks to Ben's childhood experiences do their best to give this impression, but the extended length of the scenes and their lack of importance to the final outcome of the story, implies a hint of exploitation rather than simple artistic expression. For the most extensive look at the indelible female form since Striptease, Cashback has cornered the market. Cleverly disguised in the form of a romantic comedy, Cashback manages to comes across as an artsy British Garden State meets Showgirls.

With an endearing cast of characters, including Emilia Fox as Ben's new love interest at the supermarket, Cashback offers an intriguing story exploring the complicated topics of relationships and self-expression through surrealistic methods, including freezing and fast-forwarding time. At different points, the world is swirling around Ben, faster than he can keep up, while at others everything stops and he can examine the world between the moments that we live. Eventually he comes to realize that there are times when fast-forward and freeze frame are on equal footing; no matter what, the past can't be undone.

Cashback is the first feature from director Sean Ellis, and while it's clear that he has enormous talent in the fields of both writing and directing, it's also clear that he has much room to grow as an artist. At times the film begins to meander a bit, and points that seem to have real significance to the story are left by the wayside as new plotlines are picked up. This causes the film to play out almost episodically, like several short films strapped together. This is only fitting, considering that Cashback started as a short. Audiences will not be disappointed by the message of Cashback: "Sometimes love is hiding between the seconds of your life", but they may find themselves wondering about the presentation of the message."
Underrated Comedy
Kasey Driscoll | 08/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is Sean Ellis's Academy Award nominated short film Cashback expanded into feature film. Cashback is a comedy first and foremost, and it is about an art school student and aspiring artist named Ben (Sean Biggerstaff), who recently suffered a breakup with his girlfriend of several years. Because of the break up Ben cannot sleep for over the course of several weeks and this is the time period of Ben's life that we see and he narrates for us. Ben gets a job at a grocery store to pass his time. He often imagines stopping time completely and creating his still life art. In fact, as the film goes one we begin to wonder if he really can stop time or not. Soon Ben begins to fall for a clerk named Sharon (Emilia Fox) and his episodic insomnia gets resolved.

Cashback is rich with great characters and some hilarious moments. Ben is dry enough to fittingly suffer through his many experiences, all the while his flat reactions to these other brighter characters is comedic in and of itself. Ben's friend from childhood Shaun (Sean Higgins) is an amusing womanizer who seems completely at peace with the fact that most women will harshly reject his obnoxious advances. Ben's boss Jenkins (Stuart Goodwin) is an absurdly arrogant person that also seems entirely unwavered by his failures to pursue Sharon, or even win a football game against a competing grocery store. Barry and Matt (Michael Dixon and Michael Lambourne) are two colleagues of Ben's who are constantly being ridiculously mischievous and make for some of the film's best laughs. Another colleague of Ben's is Brian (Marc Pickering) whose kung-fu training defines him as a person. This is obviously a character-driven comedy, but it is the development of these characters that makes the more subdued drama work to its advantage.

The short film, which is on this DVD as well, is basically comprised of the scene in the film where we first meet and establish these colorful characters. It is the most engaging part of the movie. The only difference between the segment in the short film and the long version is that the long version is slightly edited for sexual content. I found it strange that in the short film all the girl's are clean shaven but in the long version they suddenly have pubic hair. Nevertheless, the feature film sliding by the MPAA with just an R-rating is still a wonderful surprise. The standards have seemingly changed and perhaps the MPAA sees nudity as more pleasing to the eyeballs, as opposed to seeing someone's eyeballs being torn out of their head with pliers. No matter, you get both versions with this DVD and the film's primary function isn't as a skin flick to begin with. It is actually sort of disappointing to hear about all the nude scenes anytime I hear about this movie, although it would be silly not to point out that the nudity involves some of the most beautiful women in the world (e.g. Hayley Marie Coppin, Irene Bagach, Keeley Hazell).

I've heard that director Sean Ellis is working on a horror film next with Lena Headey. That has me curious because Ellis shows more technical ability in Cashback than we are used to seeing in most comedies and I believe he has given me reason to look out for his next project. Cashback is both more entertaining and more vulgar than most comedies out there and it deserves credit for that. It doesn't seem to be getting the exposure I think the film warrants as it is probably very accessible to an American audience. I hope it catches on as I enjoyed it very much."
A great avante-garde romantic comedy-fantasy
Darby | 10/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ok, I admit it ... just like many other people, it was the cover picture that caught my eye (as it was meant to). HOWEVER, it was the cogent and intelligent comments here (on Amazon) that succeeded in clueing me in to a sensitively written high-brow gem of a movie, which I promptly purchased, and just finished enjoying.

Yes, Ellis' movie has the obligatory dysfunctional 'characters', and sophomoric humor, required to keep what Shakespeare called his audience's "peanut gallery" contingent entertained ... thus freeing him to tell the deeper tale to the rest of the audience in peace.

In this instance, the story revolves around an intelligent, and very introspective, young art student who, shell-shocked from breaking up with his {superficially} beautiful girlfriend, goes through an emotional recovery phase (and a severe bout of profound insomnia) in which his understandings of "beauty" (both superficial and inner), and his perception time itself, shatter and rearrange themselves in surreal fashion into a new, deeper, and more mature awareness.

{By the way, the movie title is something of a double pun - the main character, as a result of his insomnia, uses his sleepless hours to work the graveyard shift at a local supermarket, theyeby getting 'cashback' on his surplus time (which seems to drag interminably) ... also, his new love interest, the cashier in same store, asks customers if they want 'cashback' on the card they use for their purchase.}

Anyway, it's a great avante garde movie. Ellis deftly uses the combination of feminine beauty, and surreal time perception, as a sort of visual zen-koan, in order to help the viewer better empathize with the main character's attempts to reassess both concepts with his artistic mental microscope (like a microbiologist trying to study what's ailing him). If you've ever been through a near death experience, a major accident, or a particularly deep & memorable emotional experience (good or bad), you'll have a leg up on grasping the slow-motion 'train wreck' altered-state-of-awareness effect (and it's aftermanth) that often accompanies such experiences, and how they often replay themselves over and over again in your mind ... sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes timeless.

It's well done, and very enjoyable. Stars: 4 1/2."
Cash Back was one helleva great movie!
Dubyac99 | San Francisco, CA | 08/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Cash Back, blown away by this wonderful DVD Movie


I think this movie, Cashback, may have come out back in 2006. Seemingly it had a very late release here in the states. I was truly blown away by this mesmerizingly wonderful movie. It had a great soundtrack, wonderful acting, stunningly beautiful female models (who appeared naked throughout the movie), and a great storyline and plot. A bit of a twist of "the office," meets Indie Films. I loved it!

Gotta say, the young nubile female walking up the stairs fully nude, with the long camera shot of the behind was the best I've seen in an R Rated movie in a long time! So glad it was so classy too, and full of great story and characters!

Two very hard thumbs WAY up!!!"