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Film / Millions

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A 2004 comedy-drama film directed by Danny Boyle. Children's author Frank Cottrell Boyce, who wrote the screenplay, also adapted it into a novel published prior to the film's release, which won the 2004 Carnegie Medal.

It's something of an understatement to say that Millions was a noticeable diversion in Boyle's career, as it's (ostensibly) a kids' movie with strong religious themes. The story concerns a young boy named Damian (Alex Etel), who recently lost his mother. He daydreams about the Saints in a cardboard castle. When a train robbery results in a falling bag of cash landing near him, Damian and his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) have to decide what to do with it. Anthony wants to spend it on luxuries for himself, while Damian wants to use it to help the poor. As the plot moves forward, the boys' widowed father (James Nesbitt) and the train robber (Christopher Fulford) looking for his missing loot get involved.

The film, despite a young cast and a bright aesthetic, deals with some fairly heavy issues; greed, religion, grief, altruism, morality and the cynicism of adulthood.

Millions shows examples of the following tropes:

  • Background Halo: The bad guy is never seen without a black woolly hat on — possibly a balaclava partly rolled up — which forms a dark halo around his head. Entirely deliberate per the commentary track on the DVD.
  • Children Are Innocent: Explored.
    • Truth in Television, in the case of the production: On the DVD Commentary, Boyle recalls having difficulty with the young leads because they hadn't experienced anything as devastating as the loss of a parent to draw on for their performances.
  • Christianity is Catholic: An unusual example, as Damian is the only explicitly religious character, but doesn't go to church. His interest in the saints, however, suggests that he's probably had a Catholic upbringing. Also averted with the Mormons.
  • Failed Future Forecast: The entire movie's premise of Britain's conversion to the Euro didn't bode well due to both the country's stubborn maintenance of the pound and the crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union due to a controversial referendum in The New '10s.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: The movie's about a 7-year-old boy who finds a duffel bag full of money, and what he and his brother do with it.
  • MacGuffin Title: The titular A MacGuffin Full of Money referenced in the One-Word Title.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: From the offset, it seems that the saints are little more than projections of Damien's imagination. Then they start doing things that suggest they may actually be genuine saints after all.
  • Never Trust a Title: The bag of money actually "only" contains £229,520, but there's a Title Drop when the brothers go through it and think it contains millions.
  • One-Word Title: The titular A MacGuffin Full of Money referenced, with Millions.
  • Product Placement: The primary school playground has a Coca-Cola machine on it, which actually isn't allowed in primary schools in the UK.