[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B004VLKXG0][/pullquote] By 2004, Danny Boyle was a director with a hit-and-miss record. From the adrenaline-filled Trainspotting at the highest end, to the confusing mess of The Beach at the other. Following on from 28 Days Later… he released a film that is almost the antithesis of his edgy, grimy post-zombie apocalypse horror. Millions is his take on a sentimental, sweet children’s Christmas film.
Damian (Alex Etel) and Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) are brothers growing up in Eire just before the change in currency to the Euro. The boys move to a newly constructed neighborhood and whilst playing near the railway lines, discover a bag full of money. The cynical Anthony wants to invest it in property to make more money, whilst Damian, through a series of interactions with Catholic Saints wants to use the money to help the poor and disaffected.
The success of films like Millions rely heavily on the quality of child actors, and Boyle has found two absolute gems. McGibbon is excellent as the cynical, money-hungry investment type, whilst Etel somehow plays completely selfless and naive without ever seeming over-the-top of cheesy. It’s an incredible accomplishment for actors so young. The fact that they are each able to represent two such differing theories on how to use money (conservative and liberal if you will) is a testament to their skill and Boyle’s ability to select amazing casts.
Boyle’s abilities by this point in his career were astounding as he seemed equally adept at horror, comedy, family films, magic realism and hard-edge gritty drama. In fact his ability to show a truly heart-warming fable, similar in content to Shallow Grave, but at the opposite end of human nature highlights just what a talented film-maker he really is.