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Cashback (2006)

The main character of the story is Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff), who is left by a girl at the very beginning of the film. As a result, he begins to suffer from chronic insomnia and does not sleep at night. After taking advantage of all the entertainment that interrupts his sleep time, Ben gets a job at a supermarket as a night worker. There, he meets a colorful team of characters and their individual ways of killing the eight-hour shift.

It is worth mentioning that Ben is an artist who can stop time. In that way, he admires the artistic beauty of quite ordinary things that gain a special charm in the frozen world. First of all, it refers to the female sex, which is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Ben, until Sharon (Emilia Fox) starts to occupy his attention. She is a cashier in the same supermarket, a withdrawn and silent girl, and Ben hopes that she is the one who has the cure for his insomnia.

The short film was nominated for an Oscar, so the logical conclusion was that the story could be developed into a feature film project. Sean Ellis completely signs a very interesting and creative work that deals with the problem of insomnia, artistic inspiration and boredom at work in its own way, and there is also the inevitable romantic story. The characters are very diverse and convincing, a certain comic feature has been added to each one, which makes them interesting to watch with a British accent and frequent black humor sequences.

This film is often genre-wise set as a romantic comedy, which I disagree with. Although there is a romantic story (which in this case is not necessarily repulsive) in it, Cashback deals more with the emotions of an individual character, in this case Ben. The combination of circumstances that led him to get a job in a supermarket unexpectedly opened his creative side, so he finally manages to find beauty in everything, as he learned in art school. Ben’s ability to stop time is used almost all the time to draw women, so the film has a lot of scenes of non-pornographic erotica.

Apart from the interesting concept of the story and relatively interesting characters, what makes this film special are the excellent creative solutions for shooting certain scenes and cinematographies, which are at a much higher level than you would expect from a low-budget film. This is especially true of scenes in which the protagonist stops time, although often the editing makes the scenes of reality, fantasy and flashbacks not act as a coherent whole.

Cashback is an interesting film, but for several reasons I didn’t like it completely. I think it would function much better as a drama with black humor, and this is how it slides into a romantic comedy that lasts until the end of the film. Such an ending makes us not happy with the check-out rush, but with the impression that the end could have been much better. Also, the story could have been more centered around one topic, and this way we got more topics in which none of them was elaborated to the end.