[box cover]

Millions

You can take the director out of Trainspotting, but you can't quite take Trainspotting out of the director — not entirely. In this case, though, that's an advantage. Thanks to his experience helming darker, decidedly adult films like Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, and 28 Days Later, director Danny Boyle brings an interesting edge to the family-friendly fable Millions (2004). The story of two English boys who find a duffel full of cash — and what they decide to do with it — could easily have been a predictable, formulaic morality tale, but in Boyle's hands, it's a charmingly surreal, warmly imaginative glimpse inside the mind and heart of an earnest seven-year-old. Alexander Etel stars as Damian, the younger son of recently widowed Ronnie (James Nesbitt), who moves Damian and his brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) to a new house in the 'burbs to give them all a fresh start. The saint-loving Damian (he spends his spare time reading about the lives — and gruesome deaths — of the holiest of holy) builds a cardboard sanctuary near the railroad tracks, only to have it fatally smashed by the renegade bag of loot. He shares his discovery, which he wants to use to help the poor and needy, with the more-materialistic Anthony, whose mind immediately turns to investment… especially since, in the world of Millions, England is only days away from converting its currency to Euros, which will make the miracle cash obsolete. But Damian quickly realizes that finding deserving poor people is harder than he thought it would be, and Anthony's plans are foiled by a system reluctant to sell an apartment (or give a bank account) to an unaccompanied 10-year-old. Then the menacing Man (Christopher Fulford) appears, the boys learn the truth about the money's origin, and everything gets a lot more complicated. All the while, Damian has comforting, sometimes enlightening conversations with his beloved saints, who appear to him in all their martyred glory, offering insight and advice. The result is a refreshing mix of imagination, quirky camera work (some of the scene-change gimmicks are a bit precious, but the cinematography as a whole is creative and energetic), and heartfelt emotion. John Murphy's score contributes to the film's poignantly optimistic mood more than a little; if you're not fighting back a sniffle by the final scene, you're made of sterner stuff than most. Fox Searchlight presents Millions in a strong anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with clear Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (other options include a Spanish Dolby 2.0 track and English, French and Spanish subtitles). The extras roster boasts a commentary by Boyle and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, a quartet of brief "making-of" featurettes, 10 deleted scenes (a few of which fill in some less-defined story moments), the trailer, a soundtrack spot, and a "DVD Cutdown" feature, which is basically a "music video" version of the film set to music from the score. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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