A particularly reliable source once said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." When he said this, he was referring to children like Damian.
Damian is the young hero of Millions, and you've never encountered a hero quite like him. Unlike the Bart Simpsons and Malcolms in the middle of most family entertainment, Damian is not a self-interested troublemaker. He's not defiant toward authority. Instead, he's brave, imaginative, charming, unpredictable, and utterly virtuous. He's also painfully naïve, and that's why, in his quest to deliver an unexpected fortune to the needy, he's in a world of danger.
The Unexpected Fortune has been the premise of quite a few comedies—most of them awful. But Millions comes from the hyperactive imagination of genre-leaping director Danny Boyle, and it's wise, meaningful, laugh-out-loud funny, and relentlessly inventive. In fact, it's 2005's first fiction film to deserve the word "fantastic." It's not just a brilliant family film—it's a brilliant film. Given the proper promotion, its contagiously high spirits could turn it into an Amelie-sized international hit. But Millions probably doesn't have what it takes (i.e., sex and violence) to be an opening-weekend blockbuster in America, so it's more likely to build momentum over time, as viewers come back from the theaters to tell their friends about it, wearing ridiculous grins on their faces.
More than any other film, Millions recalls Mike Newell's sorely underrated adventure film Into the West. In that film, two irresistible Irish boys discovered an enchanted horse that carried them through a period of mourning after the loss of their mother. In Millions, ...