In the words of Faithless’ Maxi Jazz, art student and late night supermarket shift worker Ben (Sean Biggerstaff) ‘can’t get no sleep’. Ever since he split up with his girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan) he’s been wandering around in a daze. While his playful workmates muck about, he’s hallucinating naked women in the aisles. Maybe Sharon (Emilia Fox) the checkout girl can help him sort his head out.
For his debut feature, writer/director Sean Ellis has chosen to broaden out his award-winning 2004 short of the same name, allowing it to exist in its complete form as the centrepiece of this lightweight fusion of Justin Kerrigan’s Human Traffic and Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Morvern Callar. With Ellis taking the unusual route of building a backstory around his short, this has the effect of creating a couple of continuity anomalies and a whole load of tedious padding.
The amoral ambiguity and high porn content of the original Cashback (still one of the most downloaded shorts on the internet) is diminished by the construction of a fairly conservative framework whose central message seems to be that love is always right in front of you. For its meagre budget however, this Cashback is fairly entertaining and soulful, with good performances from all involved. It will be interesting to see what this promising filmmaker’s new horror/thriller, The Brøken, is like.