Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's Commentary. Deleted
Scenes. Four Minute Feature (Danny Boyle's 4 minute edit of the
film). Audition Footage. Short Film 'Badgered'. Robbery Featurette.
Saints Featurette. UK Theatrical Trailer and TV spots. Water Aid
NO MATTER what genre he is working in, British director Danny
Boyle always seeks to bring a distinct vision to his films.
Hence Millions, a heart-warming tale of two brothers who happen
upon a bag full of lost cash, functions on several levels - part-fantasy,
part social commentary, part thriller and part tragedy.
It may be prone to some sentimental excess but on the whole it's
a fascinating and frequently amusing little film that's probably
more geared towards adults and any older children in the family.
Set around Christmas, in the days before England is about to
switch to the Euro, the film focuses on seven-year-old Damian
(Alex Etel) and his older, more worldly-wise brother, Anthony
(Lewis McGibbon), as they attempt to begin a new life for themselves
with their father (James Nesbitt) following the untimely death
of their mother.
For Damian, especially, the transition is a difficult one, especially
since he is prone to seeing visions of saints.
Yet when a bag of money mysteriously lands near the retreat he
has built for himself on wasteland near a railway line, the imaginative
youngster immediately believes it to be a gift from heaven.
Enlisting the help of his brother, Damian resolves to help the
poor of his neighbourhood, while Anthony resolves to spend as
much as he can before the currency becomes worthless.
Yet their resolve is put to the test
when the 'owner' of the cash comes calling and it turns out that
the windfall was part of the takings from an elaborate heist.
To complicate matters still further, Damian's decision to donate
a sizeable amount of cash to an African appeal at school lands
him in hot water with his teachers, while presenting his father
with a potential new love-interest in the form of a local charity
worker (Daisy Donovan).
Hence, the brothers must outwit the robbers who want their money
back, while facing the inevitable changes that will shape the
rest of their lives.
For the most part, Millions is a hugely enjoyable movie that
is boosted by some excellent performances from all concerned,
as well as some well-judged direction from Boyle.
It could so easily have become mawkish and silly, yet Boyle avoids
the temptation to do so by keeping his eye on the inherent tragedy
of the boys' predicament.
Viewers know it's only a matter of time before Damian has to
confront his feelings for his lost mother and when he does, the
sequence is guaranteed to touch the heart.
Yet along the way, Boyle is careful not to become too heavy-handed,
injecting proceedings with plenty of offbeat humour, some genuine
moments of tension and a little satire at the expense of today's
He also draws memorable performances from both Etel and McGibbon,
who never appear too precocious or sappy.
Indeed, the only real criticism is that the film is one scene
too long, overdosing on the sentiment and striking the film's
only false note.
But for that, Millions is a charming experience - both funny
and poignant - that deserves to find its own windfall at the box