What better time could there be to revisit a Danny Boyle film than in the wake of his much-deserved Oscar win for Slumdog Millionaire? And what better film could you choose than his 2005 release Millions with its very different, yet oddly similar look at childhood under very different circumstances? In case you missed the film the first time around, Millions tells the story of what happens when a couple of kids—one very innocent, the other decidedly not so innocent—find a bag of stolen money. As part of Boyle’s filmography, the film can be seen as a look back to his first feature, Shallow Grave (1994), which also revolves (in very adult terms) around a bag of stolen money—while looking ahead to Slumdog, with its similar pairing of brothers with very different personalities.
Yet, it’s never less than its own film, with its innocent but never gooey view of childhood and childish beliefs. It remains—at this point—Boyle’s most fantasticated work. It eases in and out of imagined fantasy while never precluding the possibility that the fantasies in question (religious in nature) just might not be fantasies at all. The remarkable thing about the film is that it takes material that could easily have been sugary sweet to the point of inducing a diabetic coma and keeps it just edgy and cynical enough to never descend to that level. That’s no mean feat. It’s also a film that improves on subsequent viewings; so even if you have seen it, it’s more than worth another look.