Wednesday, 6 July 2011


2006 by Sean Ellis

Some people would say, when they go for a movie with the least expectations, it turns out really good. This wasn't the case exactly yesterday. From the synopsis, I thought I was going to watch a kind of very serious movie, which sounded different. But it turned out as one of the most funny and sweet romantic comedy of a college student - a small master piece. Youngsters I know, always talk about American Pie and those kinds of movie as the most hilarious ones, which spoke about young minds. I simply wish, they watch Cashback. Since its British, they might not. What a miss for them actually.

Ben broke up with his girl friend and develops insomnia. To manage the extra 8 hours, he starts working in super market at night. As he is also an artist, finding beauty in still life, he imagines freezing time and observes the frozen world, him being the only mobile person. He is also attracted to Sharon a coworker in the store. 

Ben narrates the whole movie and the narration, I found, quite nice. Ben has inborn talent as a painter and from a very young age he found the female form charming. He was shocked and desperate about his break up and takes up his new job. Every worker in the store had their own ways of killing time and its natural Ben chose his own way of killing time, but pausing the time. This enables him to undress the females present and sketch them. He sketch Sharon even otherwise. I loved the character of Ben so much. In fact all his past is shown through some carefully placed flash backs and to be honest and frank, it was very nostalgic. How every boy has a crush on some girl in the neighborhood or in the class and even to a teacher and imagines wonders with them and cravings of a young boy to imagine and find what is beautifully covered up by the females, all , is so wonderfully told. Of course, in India, there will never be a girl in the neighborhood who would give a sneak peak for a 50 pence, but I would be lying if I said I had never wished for somebody like that.

The movie has many hilarious moments and it can make even a very serious person to laugh like an idiot, when one least expects it. May it be the two guys at the store, their store supervisor, that bloody funny football match or the strip teaser at the supervisors birth day party who actually turned out to be the Natalie from their child hood, Cashback is brilliant fun. Simply brilliant.

A brilliant director is the major reason why Cashback ends up as no ordinary romantic comedy. It has lots of fun, but it is not just an ordinary comedy too.The scenes involving Ben's walk through the frozen characters, sketching them were extra ordinarily brilliant. I would consider it as a more serious movie about a budding artists imagination and fascination for the female form and curiosity for love, which is told in a brilliant but funny way. It has elements of fantasy in it, but is really realistic. It is not filled with any formulae (from both enterntainment or artistic scales) but still turns out seriously entertaining. There is some nudity here, but what a nice way to capture it. It is not explicit or over done, its very subtle with some simple exotic touches. May be after La Belle Noiseuse, this is that one out of the ordinary movie, which has nude female forms but doesnt invoke any sexual feelings around. Salutes to the director for making it into a different movie, than ending it as another college romance and sex movie.  

Wonderful Cinematography too. And Sean Biggerstaff as Ben really impressed. He has a great charm. 

Sean Ellis, had actually made a short movie by the same name in 2004, which was much acclaimed, he just pre and post fixed some scenes to make it a full length film. I can only appreciate the movie even more, knowing this.