Monday, August 04, 2014


Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When I came across this on Netflix, I wasn’t sure what to make of it.  The description said that the main character starts working at a supermarket, where he discovers that he can freeze time, which is true.  It also says that he starts undressing customers to use as models for his sketching, which is also true.  From that description, I imagined a movie where that was all he did.  This isn’t the case.

It starts with Ben breaking up with his girlfriend, Suzy.  This leads to insomnia, which he finds difficult to deal with at first.  Rather than lament it, he decides to get a job at a supermarket, Sainsbury’s.  They’re hiring for the night shift and he has an extra eight hours.  Most of his new coworkers aren’t what you’d call role models.  Jenkins, the manager, is a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen.  Barry and Matt are always getting in to trouble.  Brian, another new hire, is a yellow belt in Kung Fu.  He seems to think he’s better at it than he is.  The only bright spot is Sharon, who Ben develops a crush on.

Through a voice over, Ben explains that the clock is his enemy.  Everyone deals with the clock in some way.  Sharon blocks it out, but Ben takes the opposite approach.  This is how he finds that he can slow or even stop time.  He’s able to freeze everyone in the supermarket so he can undress all of the women to use as models.  (There’s only one scene where he does this.)  It’s not stated how or even if he really can do this.  There are two scenes that would indicate that he can, although it could very easily be a delusion brought on by not getting enough sleep.

Instead of being a movie where he constantly thinks of new ways to take it to the next level, he incorporates it into his everyday life.  He’s able to put Jenkins in the middle of Barry and Matt playing with some food in the back room.  He’s also able to freeze a soccer match so he can get a drink.  The movie is more about Ben and Sharon developing a relationship.

The cover also seems to lend the impression that there’s a lot of nudity in the movie.  There is a lot, but it’s not as gratuitous as you might think.  Some of it is Ben narrating flashbacks to various times in his life when something important happened.  In one flashback, Ben and his friend find some girlie magazines.  In another, Ben’s recalling a female Swedish boarder walking naked from the shower to her room and how he was awestricken by the beauty of the female form.  (Ok.  So, the camera focuses on her from the neck down.  We’re all adults here.  Right?)

The thing that struck me the most odd was the use of cash back as one word.  I’ve never seen it used that way.  I don’t know if this is some sort of British usage or if it’s supposed to mean something.  There are a few scenes where it’s used.  Ben refers to working as getting cash back for his time and Sharon asks a customer if they want cash back.  I’d imagine that the title refers to the job, but I still don’t get the single-word thing.

I could see a lot of people looking at the cover, reading the description and moving right on to the next movie.  It does have a good story.  The problem is that it takes a while to get going.  It’s one of those movies that are hard to recommend.  You almost have to watch it when you’re in the mood for something different.  I think if I had been dragged to see it, I may not have liked it as much.  Basically, it’s the perfect movie for streaming. 

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