Forgotten Friday Flick – “Cashback”

Forgotten Friday FlickStill feeling somewhat misty-eyed and romantic it seemed right to turn to the Brits this week for a cinematic story about beauty that keeps past foreign film relations rolling – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re celebrating the magnificence of women with a movie that captures the female essence in all its glory.  And while it does feature some exposing of the female form in the name of artistry, strength and spirit are fully present as well.  Ladies and gentleman the film that both myself and Mr. Skin put on our Top Ten Films of 2007 (for very different reasons of course!)…Cashback!

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For his own seemingly noble reasons art student Ben Willis has just broken up with his gorgeous but vicious girlfriend Suzy.  But as time passes it’s an act he ultimately regrets and soon Ben becomes increasingly obsessed over it to the point of developing total insomnia.  So in the wake of no sleep he decides to earn a few bucks on the side and gets a late night job at a local supermarket.  There he meets an array of wonderfully wacky and quirky characters, plus is able to indulge his growing desire to draw the vast array of beautiful women he sees.  His eye for loveliness leads him to a fetching co-worker named Sharon, who just may be able to cure the disheartened lad of his severe emotional ailments.

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The above may sound like a simple premise, but in the hands of writer/director Sean Ellis, Cashback is a real wonderfully complex accomplishment.  It goes well beyond the norm and dares to combine cinematic elements not always found within the same wheelhouse.  The use of visual mind tricks (like Ben being able to stop time so he can fully appreciate and draw the subjects of his affections), a style that enhances the lead characters point of view and an uncanny ability to blend the genres of drama (very affecting scenes of breaking-up that feel too real!), crude screwball comedy (moments that would give Porky’s and Bachelor Party a run for their money!) and romance (Ellis and Cinematographer Angus Hudson really know how to capture beauty on film) all under one seamless umbrella is a feat for first feature.  (Ellis originally made this as an 18-minute Oscar nominated short film first in April of 2003!)  But Cashback moves from one emotion to the next with such ease that it frankly feels like the work of a seasoned filmmaker.

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Plus the very natural cast helps flesh out the world even more – from lead Sean Biggerstaff as the charming and wry Ben to Emilia Fox as the very engaging Sharon to even Stuart Goodwin as smarmy boss Jenkins (he could give Office Space’s Bill Lumbergh a run for his money!) everyone cast here feels so right.

Creatively coming out of left field, Director Sean Ellis creates something so rich, so powerful (what a riveting music score!), so funny and so moving that Cashback is hands down mandatory viewing for all mature audiences.  I mention mature only to brace the more sensitive viewers for the large amount of film flesh, but while there is a fare share amount of nudity in Cashback, it’s never exposed in a gratuitous fashion.  In fact, I would argue that no film captures the sheer allure, elegance and loveliness of the female form like Cashback.  (Take THAT Mr. Skin!)  Lead character Ben Willis sums it up nicely – “I wanted to freeze time. I wanted to savor that moment, to live in that moment for a week.”  For this critic, Cashback is one such movie moment.

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I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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