Millions movie review, Danny Boyle, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, Kolade Agboke, Alun Armstrong, Enzo Cilenti, Jane Hogarth, Christopher Fulford, Harry Kirkham, Kathryn Pogson, Cornelius Macarthy, Nasser Memarzia, Gunnar Winbergh, Leslie Phillips. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Millions'
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3 stars
97 minutes | Rated: PG
NY/LA: Friday, March 11, 2005
LIMITED: Friday, March 18, 2005
EXPANDS: April, 2005
Directed by Danny Boyle

Starring Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Kolade Agboke, Alun Armstrong, Enzo Cilenti, Jane Hogarth, Christopher Fulford, Harry Kirkham, Kathryn Pogson, Cornelius Macarthy, Nasser Memarzia, Gunnar Winbergh, Leslie Phillips

  • Danny Boyle
  • James Nesbitt

  •  LINKS for this film
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    'Trainspotting' director reinvents sentimental kiddie fare in story of a wide-eyed 7-year-old who finds 'Millions'

    By Rob Blackwelder

    Director Danny Boyle is known for wildly imaginative visuals in innovative, gritty-cool movies about murderers ("Shallow Grave"), junkies ("Trainspotting") and zombies ("28 Days Later"), so what's he doing making a sweet, sentimental kids' movie? Virtually reinventing another genre, of course.

    In "Millions," an angel-faced 7-year-old Irish boy named Damian (Alexander Nathan Etel) finds a duffel bag full of bank robbery loot, but thanks to his youthful naiveté, his faith in saints that watch over him, his run-away imagination and the fact that the bag literally fell from the sky, he assumes the booty is a gift from God.

    "Who else has that kind of money?" he asks innocently of his more practical 9-year-old brother, who wants to keep the discovery hush-hush and invest in real estate. But altruistic Damian sets about on a mission: He resolves to help the poor, excitedly buying pizza for homeless teenagers, secretly stuffing cash in the mailbox of austere-living Mormon neighbors, and anonymously donating £1,000 to an African charity fund at school.

    The story takes place during an as yet fictional time just before Great Britain converts from the pound to the euro, putting a time limit on the value of Damian's treasure and making especially dangerous the robbers who inevitably come seeking their lost plunder. But this setting and Damian's rich fantasy life also afford Boyle some creative license that he puts to delightful use.

    Seen from the boy's hopeful yet melancholy perspective (he has recently lost his mother), the suburban-subdivision world of "Millions" is a bright and colorful place of escapism, where cardboard boxes become imaginary rocket ships before your eyes and friendly visits from Damian's favorite saints -- complete with halos that spin off-center like gyroscopes -- are a regular occurrence. By deftly coupling these touches of magical realism with an astute use of Etel's earnestly wide-eyed (if not quite natural) acting, Boyle creates a movie that is curiously creative, genuinely heartwarming and wistful -- without being even a little a bit sappy.

    While "Millions" holds on to this air of miraculous wonder throughout, it does lose a tad of integrity with two last-minute developments that are dishonest to the spirit of the film. One is a feel-good cheat that conveniently absolves Damian of his most difficult emotions and the other seemingly contradicts the money-isn't-everything moral of the story. But even with its undercutting shortcomings, the picture's droll, whimsical charm is irresistible.

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