Can anyone be truly good?
Running Time: 97 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a
Country: United Kingdom, United States
What would you do if a whopping great bag of cash suddenly came into your possession? Travel the world? Stock up on all the latest gadgets and gizmos for a brand new house? Invest? Give it all to charity? Blow the lot on liquor and loose women? Tell me! Tell me now!! But, while youre thinking about your answer, allow me to fill you in on Millions, the first film from Manc director Danny Boyle since 2002s popular horror yarn 28 Days Later .
It stars 10-year-old newcomer Alex Etel as Damien, a dreamy-eyed Manchester ankle-biter whos out playing one day when he discovers exactly £229,320 in cash (so not actually Millions at all then, but Im happy to let that point slide if you are). Taking the sagely advice of slightly-older brother Anthony (Lewis Owen McGibbon), he decides to keep it a secret from widowed dad Ronnie (James Nesbitt) but what should be the next move? Damiens idea, somewhat disappointingly, is to give it to the poor a nice thought, but who are the poor, how do you find them, what got them into that position and how do you know they even deserve it in the first place? Add to this the fact that theres only a week to go until the UK converts from Pounds Sterling to the Euro (hence rendering the stash useless), and our do-gooding sprog is left with something of a logistical nightmare.
Millions is a really enjoyable little piece of whimsy with a lot going for it. The story, by 24 Hour Party People writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, is fun enough to make its several plot holes seem unimportant. Boyle, meanwhile, is a shrewd director and he uses the films limited budget wisely, throwing in some nice touches including a great opening CGI sequence showing new houses springing up from the ground in seconds. Perhaps the thing Ill remember the most about it, though, is the performance from young Etel. He delivers a sound, natural performance, never looking uncomfortable on-screen and managing to come across as sweet without becoming sickly.
Disappointingly, its a little tough to enter entirely into the spirit of the film and the blame for that has to lie squarely on the shoulders of the distributors. This is clearly a Christmas flick, but its May release makes it seem out-of-place in theatres and means its not really as heart-warming as its supposed to be. Heres hoping that, when its finally time for it to be shown on the small screen, the schedulers get it right and show it in a daytime slot during the festive period: because, despite its somewhat inexplicable 12A UK certificate, this is a film that can be easily enjoyed by the whole family.
It's Got: Cash Jenga! You know youre getting a bit flash when you start playing that.
It Needs: A high interest account.
More money, more problems in this charming family feel-good flick.