Oscar-nominated short grows into full-length feature


on July 20, 2007 by Chad Greene
“The bad news is that time flies,” says Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff), the articulate art student who narrates Cashback . “The good news is that you're the pilot.”

After falling out of formation with his girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan), this pilot has developed a literally show-stopping trick. Plagued by insomnia after their breakup, Ben finds his life “extended by a third” and decides to trade those eight extra hours for “cashback” by working the late shift at the local Sainsbury's Supermarket. Observing that “there is an art to dealing with the boredom of an eight-hour shift,” Ben concentrates on the opposite of passing time: stopping it.

Sketchpad in hand, he roams the aisles freeze-framing—and undressing—comely customers in order to capture the female form with pencil and paper. Eventually, however, he's almost exclusively checking out the woman who works the, well, checkout , Sharon (Emilia Fox). But when a misunderstanding threatens to derail their romance, Ben realizes the limitations of his trick: He may be able to stop time, but he can't turn it back to undo what's been done.

After playing Gryffindor quidditch captain Oliver Wood in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , Biggerstaff is surely no stranger to magic, and his tranquil turn as the time-stopping shop boy here helps suspend disbelief in this full-length feature based on writer/director/co-producer Sean Ellis' Academy Award-nominated short of the same name.

Considering all the gorgeous shots of women in Cashback , it's perhaps no surprise that Ellis is an in-demand fashion photographer back in the United Kingdom, but he also draws on his training in still-life lighting here to produce frame after frozen frame of artistic compositions—none more stunning than the final one.
Distributor: Magnolia
Cast: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan, Stuart Goodwin, Michael Dixon and Michael Lambourne
Director/Screenwriter: Sean Ellis
Producers: Sean Ellis and Lene Bausager
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: R for graphic nudity, sexual content and language
Running time: 102 min.
Release date: July 20, 2007 ltd.
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