Ben is an art college student in London, whose imagination runs wild as he works the late-night shift at the local supermarket. What do he and his colleagues do to pass the long, endless hours of the night?
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Ben Willis is an art student who works the night shift several times a week at the Whitechapel Sainsbury's. He's clear about the arrangement: he trades his time for money - cashback, as he calls it. We meet his co-workers, Sharon, Barry, and Matt, and their supervisor, Jenkins. Ben's colleagues are good at wasting time, but Ben talks to us about how he makes his shift go faster: by imagining that time has stopped. We see this late-night world of drudgery through Ben's eyes, as time does indeed stop, and he can get out his sketch book. Written by
CASHBACK was nominated for the 2006 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, losing to SIX SHOOTER. While the film had an interesting style and was filled with angst, I wonder if it was so artistic or interesting to merit the nomination. While I have not seen all the other films it competed against, I felt that perhaps it was an odd choice because on one level it might be seen as an artistic film but on the other it really just looked like a young film student trying to make a pornographic and offensive film that could be considered mainstream. The film is crammed with full-frontal nudity of some very beautiful women, though the scenes are not necessarily of a sexual nature (i.e., they are not engaging in sex acts). However, there are more up close crotch shots than I would have expected for this category and the crude sexual references (such as the sausage and shampoo scenes) just made the film seem rather gross in spots. Keeping the nudity and dropping the shampoo/sausage scenes would have greatly improved the film and given the project a greater sense of artistry--not smut.
Perhaps I am just a prude, but I was left feeling quite mixed about the film. It was interesting but seemed very gratuitous as well--like a film made by a few teens whose parents were away for the weekend.
By the way, if they DID want to make a mainstream film, having the movie star a guy named "Biggerstaff" didn't help their cause.
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