The UK is about to switch its currency from Pounds to Euros, giving a gang a chance to rob the poorly-secured train loaded with money on its way to incineration. But, during the robbery, one of the big bags falls literally from the sky on Damian's playhouse, a 7-year old given to talking to saints. The boy then starts seeing what the world and the people around him are made of. Ethics, being human and the soul all come to the forefront in this film. Written by
Damian favourite book is called "Six O'Clock Saints". Popular in the UK in the 1950s, it is surprising that any parent would give a copy to their child, as the screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce points out at 03:08 in the DVD commentary, since it contains all the gruesome stories that Damian tells in class, plus many more. Its inclusion is a sort of homage to Martin Scorsese, who, according to Boyce, has cited it in interviews as one of his favorite books growing up and that it gave him a wider understanding of the human experience than had been revealed to him as a child. Roger Ebert's 18 March 2005 review of the film, mentions that Boyce "got the inspiration for the screenplay from an interview in which Martin Scorsese said he was reading the lives of the saints." See more »
The railway line next to the new housing estate changes between electrified and non-electrified several times throughout the film as the overhead wires are not present in a number of scenes. See more »
The French have said au revoir to the franc, the Germans have said auf wiedersehen to the mark, and the Portuguese have said... whatever to their thing.
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When the Pathe logo comes up, the shadow of the hen has a halo over its head. See more »
Tonight's screening of Danny Boyle's Millions at the Toronto International Film Festival was the film's world premiere. Boyle was in attendance along with the two young stars of the film, and he introduced what obviously is a project that he feels very dear about.
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.
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