Cashback (R) 97 minutes C+
Starring Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan, Stuart Goodwin, Michael Dixon, Michael Lambourne, and Marc Pickering
I'm assuming that most of you have never heard of the film Cashback. It was originally an Oscar nominated short film (18 minutes) in 2004, that has now been adapted into a full length feature (97 minutes).
Cashback is a whimsical comedy-drama that teeters between goofy comedy and heartfelt drama, when this technique is done well it can truly enhance a story. But in this film, it creates a schizophrenic-type ambience.
Ultimately Cashback is about love and those frozen moments in time that we hold close to our hearts (for better or for worse), yet most will remember Cashback for its artistic ode to the nude female form. Here you will find plenty of nudity; slightly overdone, but completely enthralling.
Film critic James Berardinelli noted that the 2004 Oscar nominated short "gained some degree of notoriety because of its extreme nudity- full-frontal shots of women posed in grocery store aisles while frozen in time." The feature film retains all of this nudity and perhaps more, but Berardinelli also goes on to say that "the act is artistic, not prurient... and it is presented as such. There is nothing erotic about these scenes; they are ethereal."
Despite the sporadic nature of the film, this is a respectable debut feature by Sean Ellis. He has put a fresh twist and on an old formula (boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-tries-to-win-girl-back), created engaging and likable characters, and has given us a hint of his future potential as a filmmaker.
Looking much like a young Dermot Mulroney, the young cast is led by Sean Biggerstaff (you might recognize him as "Oliver Wood"from the Harry Potter movies), Michelle Ryan (soon to be TV's Bionic Woman) and the understated but talented Emilia Fox.
This film is currently in limited release, but I'm told it will be on DVD in certain regions sooner rather than later.