“Love for money is the…”
Director: Stephen Milburn Anderson
Cast: Sean Bean, Chris Hemsworth, Victoria Profeta
Synopsis: A man meets up with two “good guys” to recover what is unlawfully his, taking them on his whirlwind ride, doing things they never would have imagined, just to survive.
I think Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Shopping) is trying to come over all ‘brooding menace’ in Ca$h, but the result is a bland monotonous delivery that doesn’t really convince. There’s no presence — star or menacing — to put across the terrifying situation in which Chris Hemsworth (A Perfect Getaway, Rush) and Victoria Profeta’s hapless couple find themselves. Hemsworth’s Sam Phelan, an American everyman with virtually no back story finds himself in possession of close to a quarter of a million dollars when a case containing the aforementioned loot — the proceeds from a robbery committed by Bean’s identical twin — is thrown from a flyover during a police pursuit. Unfortunately for Sam and his malnourished wife, no sooner have they used some of the money to pay off the arrears on their mortgage, buy a Range Rover and furnish their home when the Beany man — sporting the quintessentially British name of Pyke Kubic — comes looking for his cash.
It’s a simple idea, one that’s loaded with possibilities which could go off in any direction, but it’s criminally mishandled. We’re supposed to sympathise with the Phelans but they’re not really interesting enough to get worked up about. They’re not too smart either — which, as the story unfolds, is at least consistent with their paying cash for a $70,000 car immediately after a major robbery in the city. In the UK at least, all retailers are obliged by law to report any cash purchases over a given sum (£10,000, I think) and the police would have been bearing down on the Phelans — and the other characters on Kubic’s list, all of whom seem to exist solely to emphasise his racist leanings — long before Phelan’s five-day deadline for repayment was over.
The tone of Ca$h is pretty uneven; it looks for a while as if writer/director Stephen Milburn Anderson is going to start playing it for laughs as the couple bicker in their bed and when we see Mrs Phelan smiling pleasantly as Kubic explains how he is going to take all the money away from them, but Anderson seems to drop that idea after a couple of scenes. The inevitable hostility between Kubic and Phelan blows hot and cold, as if Phelan keeps forgetting to be mad at his nemesis, and the story drifts into absurdity as the unlikely trio embark on a succession of hold-ups in order to recover the balance of the money owing.
Bean carries the film, even though his performance is nothing to shout about. It’s just that Hemsworth and Profeta’s performances are so poor they make Bean look live Olivier by comparison. Ca$h is easy enough to watch if you’re on your third beer at the end of a heavy day but you’ll have forgotten all about it before the end credits finish rolling.