Fantasia 2015: A Review of ‘Cash Only’

Posted in Fantasia 2015, Festival Coverage, Movies by - July 26, 2015

Cash Only takes us to the swagger filed mean streets of Detroit with a uniquely cultural and visually brutal bent.

Every day is a goddamn grind, and that couldn’t be truer for Elvis Martini (Nickola Shreli) who is just in the worst kinds of deep shit. He owes money, lots of it. The broken down apartment building that he owns is about to be foreclosed on by the bank and that is the least of his problems, until he finds a stash of cash in the apartment of a recently evicted tenant. He thinks he’s turned his luck around and kept the sharks at bay…that is until something even nastier bubbles up from the underworld looking for his money back!

With a gritty neon glow, Cash Only is the kind of movie that just won’t hesitate to kick you square in the nuts as we dive into the unique Armenian underbelly of a city that we never want to find ourselves in.

Director Malik Bader crafts a rich tapestry of dirt, grit and despair in the life of man who can’t find away ahead in life after he deals with the tragic loss of his wife. It’s an emotionally engaging slow burn of a story that you just can’t look away from as every frame is simply dripping with character. Bader and Star/Screenwriter Shreli make this world come alive with a natural and compelling sense of attitude and self awareness of the universe that they are existing in.

Shreli makes this all work so well with his natural presence and on screen charisma crafting his Elvis into a tragic, likeable soul that you wouldn’t want to fuck with on any given day. He’s lived these emotions in his regular life and he translates it to the screen with shocking ease like a young DeNiro in his hey day.

Cash Only feels like the kind of movie that Mean Streets was for Martin Scorsese was back in the day as I can’t wait to see what all of the talented souls behind this movie get up to next.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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