June 9, 2005 -- “Millions” is a brilliant little gem of a film about a boy who discovers a huge bag of loot. The boy, Damian Cunningham (played by Alex Etel), believes the money is from God. Damian sees visions of saints who tell him to distribute the loot to the poor. Damian's brother, Anthony (Lewis Owen McGibbon) puts up with his brother's antics, but wants to spend the money on himself. It turns out the money was from a robbery and the two boys soon find they are being stalked by one of the robbers who wants his money back. When the boys' father learns about the loot, the situation gets a lot more complicated.
The story is told with great style and shows wonderful visual imagination. In one scene, the boys visit the construction site where their new home is being built. Time-lapse photography is used to great effect in the scene to show the houses at the site being built in just minutes. The scene seems to give us direct access to the imaginations of the two boys. The same can be said for many other scenes in the movie, including Damian's visions, a product of his strangely acute obsession with saints. These whimsical scenes are handled with great skill and lots of humor. The two boys are quirky and wonderfully played. Their father, Ronnie (James Nesbitt) is also an interesting character, as is his girlfriend, Dorothy (Daisy Donovan). They all seem clueless and naive in a charming kind of way. Only Damian's brother, Anthony, seems to be somewhat cynical. He is always looking for an angle to profit from any situation, but at the same time he is still a likeable character with a good heart.
The film is very engaging and charming and it is told with wonderful style and imagination. It has a definite edge of fantasy to it and it is loaded with heart. The film is deftly directed by Danny Boyle, better known for edgy films like “Trainspotting” and “28 Days Later.” He shows a much gentler touch in this family film. Anthony Dod Mantle (“28 Days Later”) gives the film a unique look with his crisp cinematography. The screenplay was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce (“24 Hour Party People”). This is definitely worth tracking down at your local video rental shop, or your local movie theater if it happens to be playing (it is in very limited release). Although it is an Irish film, its appeal is universal. This film rates a B+.
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