Millions

Millions

2005, PG, 98 min. Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, Daisy Donovan, James Nesbitt.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 25, 2005

Seven-year-old Damian (Etel) lives with his 12-year-old brother Anthony (McGibbon) and father Ronnie (Nesbitt), who, in the wake of his wife’s passing, moves the grieving family to a brand new, prefab housing development in the north of England. It’s the sort of place that’s surrounded by verdant, sprawling fields, cut through by the whip and roar of racing bullet trains. It seems to do the motherless pack a bit of good until, strangely enough, one of those rushing engines discharges a duffel bag full of cash, which pinwheels balletically through the air before coming to rest on Damian’s secret cardboard-box fort. The boy, already imaginative and chatting to the whole panoply of C of E saints on a daily basis (we see them as he does, in the flesh, conversationally offering him tips on how to be a better lad – he, in turn, asks them if they’ve met the new saint on the heavenly block: his mum), believes the cash to be a gift from God, and promptly sets out trying to help people with it. Bringing his more earthly-minded brother into the picture only complicates things with dreams of iPods and PlayStations for all, but Damian’s unspoiled spiritual goodness tends to steamroll even the most malicious of characters (specifically the looming baddie who stole the cash in the first place). There’s a catch, though: There are only days to go before England switches currencies from pounds sterling to the euro, thus rendering that big bag of notes just so much pretty paper. Millions is a sweet, emotionally complex film about faith and charity and how the workaday world tends to snuff out such simple virtues as the years go by and childhood fades. It’s surely not what most people would have expected from Danny Boyle, who rocketed to cinematic infamy with his gruelingly hilarious adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s junkie epic Trainspotting in 1996 and whose last film involved flesh-eating Mancunians and a virus nicknamed "Rage." It is, however, unmistakably Boyle, rife as it is with all manner of CGI-enhanced magical realism and a chewy center of bleakly British optimism. It’s also markedly much like Boyle’s first film, the fine and harrowing Shallow Grave, in that it involves stolen money and the effects such windfalls have on the unprepared and ill-advised. Boyle’s credo seems to be "fortune favors the innocent," but even the impossibly cute, freckle-faced boy wonder Etel has the pensive, dark look of a guilty party, caught with his hand in the cookie jar, much of the time. It’s childhood done just right: part cotton-candy angels, part gurning adult frighteners, and all wide-eyed kidhood bravado.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Danny Boyle Films
Yesterday
Imagine a world without the Beatles ... then imagine a better film

Steve Davis, June 28, 2019

T2 Trainspotting
The sequel to the 1996 classic

Marc Savlov, March 24, 2017

More by Marc Savlov
Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**cker
Inside the creativity and fury of the artist provocateur

March 26, 2021

SXSW Film Review: <i>The Hunt for Planet B</i>
SXSW Film Review: The Hunt for Planet B
We’re gonna need a bigger telescope ...

March 19, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Millions, Danny Boyle, Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, Daisy Donovan, James Nesbitt

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle