Sunday, April 24, 2005


Director Danny Boyle is known for his stylish films in Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. While the former talks about the evil of drugs, Millions talks about the root of all evil - Money. Lots of it. To be exact, close to 300 British pounds.

This film is about taking and using money that is not yours, the morality behind that issue, and the exploration if sudden wealth can change a person's attitude. It also looks at spending large amounts of money (and the difficulty thereof) in a short span of time, as this film is set against a backdrop of the British Pound no longer being legal tender after 7 days, given the British's decision to use the Eurodollar.

Damian Cunningham is a young boy who's missing his mother, who just passed away, and whom we don't get to see until the end of the film (in a very touching scene). He has been living in his own imaginary world since, reading about and dreaming about talking to Saints, asking them if they had met or known about his mom in heaven. Many times, we look at this world through the eyes of this innocent boy, especially when the huge sack of money literally fell onto him, and he thinks that it is a gift from God as compensation for taking his mom.

And that's when the story picks up. His brother Anthony suggested they keep quiet about the finding - reason being the government will tax most of it away, and while Anthony decides to ham it up, using the money to buy friends and cronies, Damian developed a want to help the poor - from people in the street, to Mormons (the punching bag for some major gags in the film, and the hypocrisy of it all), to Africans in need of food, water and shelter, and absolute strangers, which is of course, dangerous when the "real owner" of the bag of money come knocking at the door.

Given the dilemma of spending, how do you want to do it? Invest in real estate? Foreign Exchange? (The savvy Anthony came up with those suggestions, and seeing it on screen is hilarious). Save it in a bank? And given your want to help others, how do you do so without endangering yourself, which Damian

However, when you realise that the money is not Godsent, but robbed while en route to the incinerator (one of the many interesting scenes in this film is the heist), what do you do next? Do you continue spending it? Or give it up? Do you spend the money as a form of compensation for your house getting ransacked by burglars looking for the loot?

Damian Cunningham is played by Alexander Etel, and you can't help think he's the British's answer to McCauley Culkin at his age. He brings forth pure innocence as Damian, and is absolutely hilarious in his dealings with his imaginary Saints (complete with halos).

And the saints go marching on - the highlight of which is St Peter. Listen carefully to the dialogue, as he makes subtle digs into parables and the truth behind a certain miracle - I cracked up at that one.

This film isn't complete without the complementary baddie and the uptight community policeman, and also gives the term social engineering a whole new perspective (even practised by the young!). With Danny Boyle's stylistic editing and beautiful shots of transitions and imaginary situations to complement the social commentary, this could probably be in contention as one of the best films of 2005.

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