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Millions
3.5/5
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Danny Boyle
scr Frank Cottrell Boyce
with Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, James Nesbitt, Daisy Donovan, Christopher Fulford, Pearce Quigley, Jane Hogarth, Alun Armstrong, Mark Chatterton, Enzo Cilenti, Nasser Memarzia, Cornelius Macarthy, Gunnar Flanagan, James Quinn, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Leslie Phillips
release US 11.Mar.05,
UK 27.May.05
Pathe
04/UK 1h37

Counting the cash: Etel and McGibbon

nesbitt boyle

TORONTO FILM FEST

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millions In making their first children's film, Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Boyce (24 Hour Party People, Hilary & Jackie) bring a seriously askew sensibility to their work that never talks down to the kids. In fact, you could argue that with its strong themes (and strong language) this isn't a children's film at all!

Damian and Anthony (Etel and McGibbon) are brothers, aged 8 and 10, living with their doting dad (Nesbitt) and trying to come to terms with the untimely death of their mother. Damian imaginatively dreams of one day being a saint, so when a bag filled with cash lands in his lap, he assumes it's a gift from God and starts giving it to the poor. But the more world-wise Anthony has other ideas. Whatever, they know they mustn't tell anyone!

Yes, this is another of Boyle's "bag of cash" movies, and there's rather a lot of Shallow Grave in here with its examination of greed and materialism. But Boyce's screenplay has other ideas as well, mixing in Britain's conversion from the pound to the euro (providing a deadline for spending the cash), a charity worker (Donovan) wooing their dad, a thug (Fulford) in search of the lost bag, Mormon neighbours, and a lot of religious imagery and themes. As a result, the film grabs both our hearts and minds--entertaining us and making us think.

Etel and McGibbon are real finds, giving raw and honest performances that completely hold the film together, while Nesbitt and Donovan are lively and endearing as the adults who try perhaps a bit too much. There are also memorable side characters everywhere, as well as dryly witty running gags and perhaps a few too many gimmicks for one movie, both in the story itself and in the whizzy, inventive filmmaking style.

Boyle and Boyce meaningfully embrace the story's magical realism and actually make it work despite Boyce's usual unfocussed plot structure, finding the serious undertone beneath the comic surface without ever getting sappy. They're also unafraid to get fairly creepy and unsettling at times without ever losing view of the story's themes. And the ending packs a wonderfully lasting punch.

cert 12 themes, innuendo, language 19.Sep.04

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2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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