The new film from the erratic Danny Boyle starts out promising but soon loses steam amongst a flurry of half realised ideas. It’s interesting to note that Millions beat Nick Hornby’s book ‘How to be Good’ to the big screen since they do share quite a lot in the theme department. (I am of course assuming that ‘How to be Good’ will eventually be adapted since all of Hornby’s other books seem to be).

MillionsDarkness is an element left out of Millions (both literally and figuratively) and this is kind of surprising considering Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and to a lesser extent The Beach. Here we definitely have a movie that kids could safely watch in the presence of their parents (although as to whether they’d enjoy it is another question). The concept is sound enough, and I had hoped for some powerful messages regarding wealth, greed and charity, but unfortunately Millions was a little too simplistic for my taste.

The film became progressively less and less interesting, even with the frequent appearances of saints (which gave the film a slightly surreal feel in the style of The Butcher Boy). The central performances are great – the responsibility rests almost completely on the fantastic Alexander Nathan Etel and Lewis Owen McGibbon who easily outperform the rest of the cast. The adults have very little to do in smaller, often cartoonish roles. A list of stereotypes (from the jovially greedy policeman to the almost alien-like Mormons) distract us from the central premise which could have raised some truly interesting questions.

The purity of youth and inherent need to do good tries to shine through in Millions, but is constantly overshadowed by random and distracting special effects and two dimensional supporting characters.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 15th August 2005
Hoopla Factor: 2.0 stars

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