Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alexander Nathan Etel, Lewis McGibbon, Daisy Donovan, James Nesbitt, Christopher Fulford, Jane Hogarth, Harry Kirkham, Alun Armstrong, Enzo Cilenti
Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Directed by: Danny Boyle
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, language, some peril and mild sensuality
Running Time: 97
Date: 09/14/2004

Millions (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Dollars and Sense

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Making the odd progression from murder, drugs and zombies to this family-friendly allegory, British director Danny Boyle nevertheless keeps his visual zing intact. Upon moving to the suburbs, a cherubic young boy, Damian (Alexander Nathan Etel) -- who sees and speaks to all manner of ghostly Saints and knows their dates of death -- builds a cardboard fort in a back field. Out of nowhere, a bag of money crashes out of the sky. Damian wishes to use the money for good, donating it to those who need it, but his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) has other designs. Anthony becomes an overnight accounting whiz thinking about ways to increase this payload. The catch is that the UK is switching to the euro and that soon the money will be worthless. Various subplots extend the action, such as the boys' widower father (James Nesbitt) becoming interested in a new lady (Daisy Donovan), as well as outside forces trying to take the money away at the climactic Christmas play. Boyle turns in a very funny and lively tale, buoyed by an excellent use of pop music (including a rare Clash tune) and slick cinematography. Only a stupid and insulting ending dampens the experience; as in all moral lessons about the evils of money, the heroes still get to keep some at the end. Frank Cottrell Boyce, best known for Michael Winterbottom's brooding films, wrote the screenplay.

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