Overview: Allen (Tyler Mills) is at a crossroads of his life. He is trying to make ends meet at an underpaying job while also trying to take care of his sick father. Allen and his two friends devise a plan to answer all of their financial woes. Allen will enter underground poker tournaments while his friends strategically rob the other players of their buy in money.
What Worked: Writer and director Alex Srednoselac did a great job of placing the audience in the shoes of our main character. Allen makes many bad decisions in life but Srednoselac excels at showing us that he is just in a very confusing part of his life right now. Deep down he is a good kid with potential, but he needs to get his priorities in line. Cashing Out’s acting was very good, especially for an independent film. The actors did a convincing job of making the audience care for these characters and the decisions they make. All actors also had great chemistry, making it believable that they were truly friends. My favorite aspect of the film was the soundtrack. Srednoselac picked the perfect vibe for every engrossing moment. Wonder, fear, sadness, and happiness all echo in our eardrums at the perfect points in the movie. I loved Srednoselac’s camerawork in the film, as well. He plays off of emotion spectacularly and has a great eye for using scenery to aid in his storytelling.
What Didn’t Work: The minor issues are ones that plague most independent movies. Such a small budget usually leads to production aspects that end up being accepted due to money or time constraints. I felt like the first act of the film needed to have more development for Allen and his girlfriend. Were all of his visions of her memories or his imagination? If they were his imagination they definitely needed more screen time to build on where their relationship finished. I thought that there were some parts of the story that hit a lull. These scenes could have been used to further develop Allen’s friend Robby, whom I believe could have used more screen time. Robby’s humor was definitely needed in Cashing Out and it helped to alleviate some of the movie’s tense scenes. Lastly, I understand that this movie is about Allen and his life. However, I wanted to know who won the big game. Furthermore, I would have liked to have seen a little bit of Danielle’s life after the game. She helped Allen in so many ways, and I feel like her character earned some resolution.
Overall: Cashing Out is a great independent film that is definitely worth checking out in a theatre. Director and writer Alex Srednoselac excels in developing an engrossing narrative that keeps the audience glued to the screen. This film provides what most moviegoers crave—great storytelling with enough twists in there to keep the fans guessing. Pacing issues aside, I felt that Cashing Out succeeding in delivering a great story that leaves the audience with a feeling of fulfillment. Cheers to everyone that was a part of this great movie!