A couple times a year a movie comes out of left field and delights me so much that I’m almost at a loss to explain the magic it makes. This is from Danny Boyle, one of the last people you might have expected it from. His previous films included the extremely hairy drug comedy/drama Trainspotting, the film that made Ewan McGregor a star, and the post-Apocalyptic 28 Days Later. Talk about a change of pace! Millions is an irresistible fantasy about two boys who have recently lost their mother. Damian is 7, and he collects saints like other kids collect footballers. He knows every one, and in his innocent decentness is a damn good candidate for sainthood himself. Anthony is 9, and as his father says at one point, in awe, “How did I get you?” The kid could beat the pants off any trader on Wall Street, he is so dedicated to getting rich.
One day a bag with a quarter million quid literally falls from the sky and demolishes Damian’s cardboard play house. He takes it home, thinking it came from God. He only wants to use it to do good, and plans to give it all away … but to whom? Anthony won’t hear of it. He wants to invest it in real estate. Boyle could have chosen to set the film in a slum, but instead puts it in a new Liverpool suburb that’s as plastic and perfect as anything in America. Hell, it could be under the dome in The Truman Show. So these boys aren’t lacking for anything (though their father works hard for it, and knows they are overextended), except for the love of their mother. I think that was a wise choice.
Damian can’t stop himself from giving away bundles of cash. He speaks to saints, who are solid and real to him, and they are ordinary joes, and funny with their advice on life. (St Peter is proud to be patron saint of keys: “I’m on the gate, up there.”) Complications ensue, including a bad guy who lost the money in the first place … but that’s all the plot I’m going to talk about. The rest should be left as a delightful surprise.
A few comments. This is not an SFX-driven movie, but it has some, and they are wonderful and enhance the story instead of getting in the way. I loved the way the haloes floated over the heads of the saints like they were made of clear, glowing jelly. The colors of the movie are stunning. And though it uses snappy, high-tech editing techniques, they also never get in the way, but delight me instead. Can’t think of a bad thing to say about this movie. Oh, I forgot one thing. I’m usually pretty good at Brit accents, but these Liverpuddles had pretty thick ones. Another reason I love DVDs: I could turn on the English subtitle for the hearing impaired. Didn’t miss a line of dialogue.