User ReviewsReview this title
Along comes Millions, a delightful British entry with a new twist: Kids find the money, argue about the best way to spend it, and finally get the help of adults to dispose of it. Unlike most greedy types, who eventually suffer the consequences through lame goddess Nemesis, the two brothers are not at the larcenous stage. They simply have different philosophies: Damian wants to give it to the poor; his older brother, Anthony, prefers fiscal responsibility, which does not feature giving away the money. Along the way they learn about the responsibility that sticks inextricably to every note, which they must cash in quickly before the pound is changed into the euro.
Danny Boyle's eclectic imagination has Alex obsessed with the saints, who appear to him regularly in visions to talk candidly about the world as they see it and saw it. Memorable is Clare of Assisi, who smokes a cigarette and claims to be the patron saint of television. Saint Nicholas helps Damian deliver cash to needy Mormons, who turn around immediately and buy a foot massager and digital TV. It's refreshing to see the saints almost human in their little scenes that illuminate the realistic side of religious fanaticism. But it is that devotion that lets Damian fight the forces of greed and a forceful brother, not to mention the crooks and citizens now fully engaged in extracting the cash from the blameless kids.
Boyle's hyperactive camera ushers in some magic realism at the beginning with a house building itself in seconds and later a rocket launch to an exotic paradise. No one ever accused Boyle of being unimaginative or reverent. The ornery Millions is a tribute to a director who makes children interesting and wise and movies for everyone.
Two young brothers in Manchester come across a gym bag overflowing with cash, British pounds, days before the bank of England switches over to the Euro.
Damian (Alex Etel) is a young philanthropist who spends his time learning (and daydreaming) about the saints. He believes the money, which seems to have fallen from the heavens, is a gift from God and wants to use the money to help the poor, while his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) is a hot-blooded capitalist who is already thinking of exchange rates, inflation, and the cost of property. He uses the money to buy the affection of his new classmates.
There are obvious parallels to be drawn with Boyle's first film Shallow Grave, (reviewed here) which also tells the story of a group of friends who find a mysterious surplus of cash, and the morals of what to do with it.
Millions, however, is like a feel-good retelling of Shallow Grave through the eyes of children. It's sweet without being saccharine, and it's altogether enjoyable. I was incredibly refreshed to see a movie with a situation like this not make the characters look bad for wanting to keep money that isn't theirs. This isn't a film that chastises the greedy or denounces the almighty dollar; it's one that celebrates the chance to make a difference in one's own life, and the lives of others.
I particularly enjoyed the fantasy elements in which Damian seeks advice from various saints who appear to him in visions that blur the line between imagination and spiritual visitation.
Screened in the gorgeously ornate Elgin theatre, the film garnered a standing ovation, which may only have been for the benefit the two young stars of the film, but I couldn't help but get a little emotional to see the two of them, standing beside their director and surrounded by audience members, cry at the outburst of love and applause from a room full of strangers after such a tender and affectionate movie.
Although it stars two child actors, Millions is not a "kids" movie, but can be entertaining and meaningful for all ages. Although the Catholic religious imagery plays a significant role, I would not call this a religious film. As the characters are Catholic, their religion provides their reference point for morality.
This film has humor and mystery, and is quite touching as well. There are some striking visual images. Plus it makes you think. Basically it asks the question: "What does it mean to live a 'good' life?"
The ideas of the Euro and Money in general are really just used as creative tools. The real plot is quite brilliant, telling a great story of a very pure heart, a young boy and his brother. These two kids did an amazing job, one of which has had no previous experience.
I was fortunate enough to attend a special screening where Mr. Boyle showed up (San Fran). Thanks! I wish more directors did this :) I found it quite entertaining, funny, light and complex. A great way to relax after a long day of flying.
I commend Danny for trying something different, on the opposite spectrum compared to 28 Days and Shallow Grave.
A great movie for 2005!
The story was very well told through the eyes of the two pre-teens and the usual sibling rivalry you would expect in real life was present. James Nesbitt was very good in the roll of the boys father although his 'northern' accent was a little strange, and its always nice to see Daisy Donovan in anything
Once the film ended the audience must have applauded for about 5 minutes, something I have not witnessed for some years now.
See this film, tell your friends to see it and go again with them. (There is also a Clash song used in the soundtrack which is always a good sign)
There are some times where the film is horribly frightening, but not too scary for lets say a 10 year old.
The little boy who plays Damien was absolutely magnificent. His performance was so beautiful, pure and subtle. That i had forgotten i was watching a child act.
I encourage everyone to go out and check this movie out because this is truly one of the very best films i have ever seen.
A beautiful story with heart that anyone can enjoy.
It's only a few days before currencies, all over Europe, will convert to Euros. When thieves break into one train carrying the old pound notes destined to be destroyed, all these pound bills are distributed by someone in the freight car throughout the route.
Enter young Damien and Anthony, the young boys at the center of the story. They have just moved to a new house in the suburbs. Having recently lost their mother, the boys react differently. While older Anthony finds his own way, young Damien gets comfort from the his book about the life of the saints. He knows his holy people! When Damien, minding his own business is hit with a strange parcel, he discovers a treasure worth a lot of pounds.
Since boys will be boys, suddenly the whole school gets to know the secret. The boys begin doing good deeds and Damien begins asking people if they're poor. They don't want to share their secret with their dad because Anthony reckons he would have to pay 40% in taxes! This film works because the sweetness of Damien. He is a good kid who wants to practice charity in order to go to heaven and perhaps be reunited with his dead mom. Young Alexander Nathan Etel is perfect as Damien. Lewis Owen McGibbon plays Anthony, his brother.
Tne film is a lot of fun because of the innocence of Damien. Seen through the boy's eyes, the film turns to be a lot of fun because Mr. Boyle has done magic, putting all the right ingredients into the film.
Without question, this is the single most wonderful film I have seen over the previous 12 months. It's story is simple enough for children but contains a wealth of pleasure and emotion for adults; it's also kindhearted--one of the most optimistic films. It's quite daring for a project this sincere and good-spirited to be made these days. The cynicism contained in most film, though not terrible, is becoming slightly intolerable. It's refreshing to see something so nice.
Danny Boyle, known most famously for Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, seems an odd choice for this gentle, moving fable about youth, money, and goodness. Whether or not he was the best man for the job is inconsequential because he does such amazing work here that I cannot imagine anyone else helming this project. The story is simple and Boyle adorns his imagery with occasional flashy maneuvers with his camera or with the aid of computers. In many films, these would appear as protuberances. In Millions, they complement the fairy tale nature of the film and add another layer of complexity to the tale.
In addition to the direction, screenwriter Boyce proves yet again that he's one of the most amazing writers of film today. He may not receive the press of Haggis, Kaufman, or Gaghan, but he deserves as much or more praise than those men; with disparate films such as Hilary and Jackie, The Claim, and 24 Hour Party People already under his belt, it was no surprise to me that he captured the magic and wonder of childhood in a way that refused to undercut that wonder and joy with irony or condescension. I await his treatment of Tristram hungrily.
And then there are the kids... There's a glut of great child actors starring in today's motion pictures. The kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Jamie Bell come immediately to mind (not to mention the entirely likable cast of the Harry Potter films). It's fantastic that Boyle and Boyce found two more great kids. Alex Etel is more or less required to carry this film, and he does so with ease. He's a wonderful actor and an incredibly likable kid. Lewis McGibbon nails the part of Alex's older brother giving what could have been a one- dimensional character (simply a schemer) a rounded personality. These two leads are aided to no end by the adults in the cast, particularly James Nesbitt. Nesbitt is a great British actor and deserves more work. His turn in Bloody Sunday was eye-opening, and he's equally good here.
I apologize for this review's overflowing superlatives. I simply feel that Boyle has created something special with Millions. A film that deals so sensitively with a child's reaction to the death of a parent deserves all the praise it can, and to infuse the story with a sense of spirituality--and a hope in the spiritual--that is not entirely reverent but not condescending either is remarkable. Here is a film that maintains a sense of humor around religion without disrespecting believers. Most films that even remotely broach the subject of religion and spirituality do so at the polar extremes--they're either complete mockeries (like Saved!) or self-righteous without piety (like The Passion of the Christ) and in both cases they're utter and disgusting failures.
Millions is a very special and moving film, and I encourage everyone to watch it.
The boys who play Damian and Anthony are brilliant. The will be a good actor someday.Anthony is more reasonable than Damian. Damian is full fantasy, same with us, when we were kid.
This movie talk about 2 boys, brother, live with their father. They move to other town, after their mother died. Damian is a lot more weird than his brother. someday Damian found a bag full of money at his playhouse. Then he tells his brother and together they keep the money under his brother's bed.
Excellent movie from Danny Boyle. Danny Boyle is one of my favorite director.
I thought this film would be a simple straight forward kids film like Home Alone. I was so wrong! The story was gripping, and it was told so well that I really felt for the kids. Damian, who had a morbid fascination with Saints, wanted to do good to go to heaven. I really could see his frustration and confusion when the money gave him all sorts of trouble. I really liked the fact that it had a moral side as well, as it taught kids about charity, how money blinded people etc. II never thought Dany Boyle would make such a warm and thought provoking film that could be viewed by everybody! It is a definitely welcomed departure from his usual genre.
Two kids, Damian and Anthony, move to a brand new housing estate with their dad (James Nesbit) after mum dies. A railroad cuts right across the fields next to their house and eight-year-old Damian builds a makeshift gang-hut right there. Damian is no ordinary kid. He is exceptionally honest and has frequent chats with Saints visiting from heaven.
During once such chat in his cardboard gang-hut a train passes by and a huge bag of £20 notes crashes through the roof. Damian, believing it came from God, wants to give the money to the poor but Anthony uses it to get street cred. Trouble is that the Euro comes to Britain in only a few days and Anthony, being a junior stockbroker, struggles to think of a secure investment in time. It's all fun and games until a sinister gangster turns up asking questions and making threats.
What makes the film memorable is the whimsical insight to the naive, innocent and pure-hearted life of a child. Millions mostly concentrates on Damian and Alex Etel who plays him is absolutely bloody perfect. Kids in movies are usually brats (check out anything by Steven Spielberg) but Damian is good enough to balance out a whole century of Daddy Day Cares and Crapper By The Dozens. His story and the world he lives in is amazing stuff and to narrow Millions down to just a kids film would be a bad thing to do. His innocence might just inspire you to stop doing bad things.
Boyle's use of songs and music is also professional. It was not hacked together to make a 'Songs inspired by' album that has little to do with the film (which so many people unfortunately fall for) and not only do I recommend this film highly but I would consider buying the CD too.
One moan: The film is set over the Xmas period but is obviously filmed during a hot summer!
The film concerns a family (two boys & their father) whose mother passed away & moves to a neighborhood. The youngest boy, who develops elaborate fantasies of saints, builds a fortress in the field next to their house out of cardboard boxes. One day, as a train whizzes by, a bag of money lands on the fortress. He shows the money to his brother. The UK is converting to Euros & the due date is coming up fast upon them. They try to spend the money, however have a difficult time doing so.
The film is completely implausible. First of all, Damian (the young boy) never reads or watches DVDs or goes to church, so his rather fantastical fascination with saints is completely out of the blue. After the kids find the money, the older boy tells the younger never to tell his father because he believes he'll have to pay a 40% tax on it (but then he tells the younger that 40% is most of it). Now if the kid knows about estate taxes & can do basic math computations others his age can't, why doesn't he understand 40%? It's clear that it's just one more (rather weak) plot element Danny Boyle added to the film that may pass by the casual viewer, but the implausibility of which Will annoy more learned viewers. There are a dozen other such implausible developments, like the older boy's showing the stack of money to other kids & then paying them not to tell anyone, the younger one stuffing money into the mail slot of a house of Moromons, a police officer who intrudes into the houses of the neighborhood without any notice or objection by the residents, a woman who scams for a Christian Aid agency to young kids in schools (but completely forgets about that mission once she meets Damians dad), and I could go on..... Most of what happens in this movie is completely implausible and the way that Boyle slips into & out of Damian's fantasy world, only obfuscates what happens in the movie. Most annoying is the ending: a mysterious man shows up at exactly where the money was found, the kids first just thinks he's poor, but never seem to put together the (implausible) story told to them from a son of a cop about a heist & money being thrown from a train. The mysterious man pops up in very unlikely places & threatens Damian to get him the money (this time the implausibility of the film goes through the roof).
*** End Spoilers***
By about 10 minutes before the sappy ending, the entire audience had left (ok, there were only about a dozen others in the theater). I only (regrettably) stayed because it was a double feature & I really wanted to see Kung Fu Hustle (the second bill).
What is most annoying about the film is Danny Boyle's overly simplistic theme running through the film that money is evil. The film hints at the complexities of the issue (money can buy badly needed wells in developing countries, money can buy you friends, money is temporary & only useful in this world). However, the film never really engages directly with these issues, but rather only drops them into the film as plot devices. As a result, the film is intellectually dishonest. Danny Boyle may have had a good idea, but this is a poor exaction of it. Download Pink Floyd's "Money" & listen to it, you'll save $8 and 94 minutes of your life, and use that time & money on Kung Fu Hustle instead.
Given that the whole of the film rests on the shoulders of a young boy, the acting is superb on Alex Etel's part, the rest of the cast as well. The story of a child trying to do what he feels is right is heartwarming at the least. Even the seemingly contrived moment of motherly love will make the back of your throat ache with the need to shed a few tears. (I'll admit it) This film shows just how offbeat it seems to some follow the golden rule. Damien is seen as odd for wanting to be benevolent. Almost as if it simply is naive and nearly ignorant to want to believe. The people around Damien all feel this way to a certain extent, even his father. (Though we see things a little differently, mainly because we see them through Damien's eyes.) The only thing that sat strangely for me was the Mormon addition. How does a film about the decency in most people and the good in doing good parallel with a group of men who seem... strange at best. They show there greed over the course of the film as a comic moment in the film, but one has to wonder why a more mainstream religion was let off the hook, so to speak.
This is a sweet movie but it isn't a cloying one. At its centre is a truly wonderful performance from Alex Etel as Damian, acting as if he believed every minute of it, (and banishing our doubts in the process). It helps, too, that the film has a very solid script by Frank Cottrell Boyce that blends fantasy and realism so seamlessly. It's funny and it's moving and the old chestnut of the dead mother paying one last visit to her children is handled without sentimentality. A credit to all concerned.
The film sees a bag of money fall from the sky and land on the playhouse of five-year-old Damian, a motherless child who is pure-hearted and a firm believer in God. The little boy believes the money came from God, unaware it was stolen by a gang who seize the chance to steal from money due to be incinerated in the days before the UK is due to switch currency from pounds to Euros (yes, now we all know it's a film since it will be a cold day in hell before that happens! But I digress...). While Damian has many good intentions for the money, determined to help the poor and less fortunate, his eyes are sadly opened up to the greed in the world when he sees how it changes those around him, including his father and nine-year-old brother Anthony.
Alexander Nathan Etel, who played Damian, was excellent as this wide-eyed, sweet-natured child. He carried the story and gave the film the heart it needed to be successful. He was well-supported by Lewis Owen McGibbon, as the more streetwise and business-minded Anthony, and James Nesbitt, who was in the role of the boys' loving, if rather stressed, father Ronnie.
'Millions' is a thought-provoking film about how many young children see the world so differently from their 'greedier' and less considerate elders. It touches upon a child's feelings of bereavement and grief at the loss of their innocence as well as religion without the need to preach to the audience. The script also refuses to condescend down to small children and instead it's told in a manner that would appeal to a wide audience age range.
This is definitely a film for those seeking something family-orientated and heart-warming without being cavity-inducing. It's just a shame it never received more recognition since it has a unique and enjoyable story.
Disclaimer: I have yet to rid the disease of reading too many reviews of a film before watching it. Perhaps I'll carry that sickness forever, because I simply love to read about movies, every single one of them, regardless of whether I'll be watching them or not.
That said, the movie did not meet my expectations. 'Over-rated'... the initial thought. But first, the good points. Alexander Etel is perfectly cast as the highly imaginative and innocent young protagonist. Through the many 'appearances' of godly beings throughout the film, the audiences share his holy world, a world of angels and saints which he uses to replace the loss of his late mother. The boy convinces with his doe-eyed expressions and intimate heartfelt conversations with the saints who visit him every now and then.
The cinematography is unique, the settings are interesting and the way the whole movie was shot is very unusual... which could be a double-edged sword in terms of plot development. For me, this style achieves cinematic originality but compromises on the flow required for simple story-telling. There are far too many interjections and interruptions in the story... there are many moments when just as you are about to catch hold of something, the scene stops abruptly and leaves you dangling midway. This is all a little bit frustrating really, which ultimately results in a lack of emotion and inspiration in my mind as the movie reaches it ending.
The film is definitely watchable and deserves to be commended for having many special features not commonly seen in other movies. Whether these features are pulled off effectively is a matter of subjectivity; they didn't work too well for me but may leave a huge impression on you.
I've always admired Boyle and his work since I saw 28 Days Later, and as you all know, I'm pretty excited about his most recent upcoming film, Sunshine, which couldn't possibly look better. I was still lacking to see Millions from this director, and after all the great things I had heard, I couldn't let get away the chance to see it.
Millions was amazing. Since the beginning, I knew I was in for a special ride and I sure was. What makes Millions so special is that you get to enter Damian's (Alex Etel) imagination, you see what he sees and thinks, how he reacts when he finds the money and what he wants to do with it, and at the same time, all this things on his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) and the adults in the film. You get to compare the innocent mind of a child to the older ones. And the result is simply fantastic.
An splendid screenplay and fantastic performances from both Alex and Lewis make Millions' message and plot come to life and fill us with joy. A joy that'll stay with you even after you finish watching the film and that will come back every time you remember it. It's fun, it's emotional and it's unique, a very different work from Boyle that proves this guy can do anything he wants and make it work in every possible way. Very recommended.
Millions manages to encapsulate the simple joys and pains of childhood and put it up on screen in remarkable fashion. Sure it's a little gooey, but it's a good kind of gooey. Here is a film with something of a spiritual backbone, but not in a way that is preachy or overly top-down.
A gem of an idea is backed up with amazing style. Director of Photography Anthony Dod Mantle pulls all sorts of tricks out of his hat, each appropriate and enriching to the film as a whole. Alex Etel's performance is superlative; the camera goes right in his eyes and you can see palpable emotion from the child actor there.
The storytelling device of introducing the Saints, Damian's "imaginary friends", is handled deftly and sweetly, not in a silly, obvious manner. The actors who portray the saints, including Enzo Cilenti and Alun Armstrong, have a down-to-earth, human manner about them that puts the audience at ease and allows us to enjoy their presence just as the character of Damian does.
The film harks back to old-fashioned children's' films, with its slimy villain, morally off-center older brother, honest hardworking dad and larger-than-life backdrop. When the waterworks start to flow, the audience won't feel cheated, because the film worked hard at creating (not engineering) that emotion, and deserves it.
This is why I don't understand is how this movie hasn't yet become a Christmas classic. Like "It's a Wonderful Life", it isn't consciously a Christmas movie but everything about about it revolves around themes and ideas that reflect what Christmas is all about. And it does so smartly and ambiguously that the ending is so uplifting that it renews your faith in the human spirit very much like the ending of "It's a Wonderful Life". As well there are Christmas references throughout the movie. A shame it is overlooked ...