7 out of 10
7 out of 10
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Alexander Nathan Etel as Damian
Lewis Owen McGibbon as Anthony
James Nesbitt as Ronnie
Daisy Donovan as Dorothy
Christopher Fulford as The Man
Pearce Quigley as Community Policeman
Jane Hogarth as Mum
Alun Armstrong as St. Peter
Enzo Cilenti as St. Francis
Nasser Memarzia as St. Joseph
Kathryn Pogson as St. Clare
Harry Kirkham as St. Nicholas
Cornelius Macarthy as Gonzaga
Kolade Agboke as Ambrosio
Leslie Phillips as Himself
Commentary by Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce
Millions Soundtrack Spot
10 Deleted Scenes
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes
The following is from the DVD cover:
It's holiday season and seven-year-old Damian believes he's received a divine gift from above when a suitcase filled with cash literally falls out of the sky. Damian is anxious to share the wealth with those less fortunate while his fun-loving brother Anthony would rather spend it like there's no tomorrow! But when the loot turns out to be stolen, both boys' plans are put to the test-with heartwarming and hilarious results."
Millions is rated PG for thematic elements, language, some peril and mild sensuality.
Millions is quite a departure from director Danny Boyle's other films. Rather then being a horror film like 28 Days Later or a drug drama/comedy like Trainspotting, this is aimed at a family audience. The film is funny, fanciful, and original. Millions certainly proves that Boyle is versatile.
I attempted to watch the film with my kids and was partially successful. They were intrigued by the boys playing, building a clubhouse, and moving into a new home. However, they had a hard time understanding the boys' accents and they didn't quite understand the concept that the Pound was changing to the Euro, a big plot point of the film. They really just wandered in and out of the room catching the parts that they liked. I was a little embarrassed at one point when the boys looked up a lingerie site on the internet and started ogling nipples peeking through bras. I didn't think viewing Millions was going to require me to explain horny little boys to my daughter. It was bad enough I had to explain the Euro.
As an adult, I found the story intriguing and funny. It explored what happens when a family gets a ton of money dumped in their laps. Morals can get compromised, better judgment can get cast aside, and family ties can be strained. One boy becomes obsessed with helping the poor with the money (which also ties into him having visions of saints helping him out along the way, a very unique touch). His brother becomes a financial wizard and does his best to spend the money. When their father finds the stolen cash, he's determined to keep it as repayment for his hard life. Everything they do along the way is both touching and funny. It's an amusing "what if" that you can't help but be pulled into. A little suspense gets thrown in when the bank robber finds out they have his cash and it becomes a little bit of a tearjerker when the young boy has a vision of his dead mother. This film touches on so many themes that it's quite impressive they mesh well.
My only problem with the film is that the final message was a bit ambiguous. The young boy tells his father it's wrong to keep the money, but when his father insists on keeping it, the boy seems to happily join in on the spending spree. I suppose it's realistic, but it seems to have corrupted any message about honesty that the movie was heading towards.
The casting in the film was perfect. Alexander Nathan Etel and Lewis Owen McGibbon, the two young brothers, acted very well. They were funny, believable, and entertaining. They were impressive performances from child actors. James Nesbitt is also charming as Ronnie, their father. After his wife dies, they do subtle little things like have him sleep with pillows on the side of his bed to let you know how he feels about his wife missing. Everyone's so focused on the boys that it's easy to forget what their father is going through. When Daisy Donovan shows up as Dorothy, you don't know if she's a legitimate love interest for their father or if she's going to run away with the money. It's a complex role, but Donovan handles it with style.
There are a substantial number of bonus features on this DVD. Along with the commentary by Danny Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce, you'll find the following:
DVD Cutdown – This is a bizarre DVD addition. It's essentially the highlights from the entire movie shown together in a montage of clips. If you just watched the film, why would you need this?
10 Deleted Scenes – There's actually a half hour of deleted scenes included on the DVD. Some of the scenes, like one showing a boy picking on Damian, are minor. Others are a bit more substantial, like a scene where it appears that Dorothy is running off with half the money before the big spending spree. The boys' father agonizes over the fact that he trusted her before finding out the truth. One amusing deleted scene features a family appearing at the front door asking for money and the older brother paying them off and having them pretend to be carolers to get rid of them. Another scene shows more of the saints praying over Damian as he hides in the attic. The final deleted scene is actually raw footage of Damian going to his old house and hiding in the attic. You hear Danny Boyle yelling out direction to the young boy in order to get the appropriate reaction. It's an interesting look at how directors successfully direct children.
BTS Featurettes – There are several behind the scenes features. One discusses the saints shown in the film. Another talks about the adult cast while another talks about the young cast. There are a lot of interviews, behind the scenes footage, and more.
The Bottom Line:
If you like fanciful movies or if you're a fan of Danny Boyle, then Millions is definitely one for you to check out. Kids will probably like it too, but it will work best with an older age range and a little bit of explanation from parents.