Seldom does a movie so beautifully capture innocence and naivety, without bordering on saccharine. “Millions”, a whimsically fantastic tale of a boy who simply wants to make the world a better place, is director Danny Boyle’s perceptive exploration of the human psyche and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce’s masterful look into the unending internal battle between morality and greed.

7 year old Damian (Alex Etel), his elder brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon) and their father (James Nesbitt) move to a new house after recently losing their mother. To cope with his loss, Damian lives in his own fantasy world, replete with patron saints and halo bearing do-gooders.  Providing guidance and sage advice, these virtuous visions help reaffirm the little boy’s pure intentions and simplistic pious approach to life.

The film gains pace after Damian serendipitously finds a bag filled with over two-hundred thousand pounds. And with only a few days to go before the official currency is supposed to be changed to Euros (providing a sense of urgency for conversion), the brothers find impetus to spend the money quickly.

Guided by his heart, and propensity for good, little Damian insists on giving all the money away to the poor. His several attempts are met with cynicism that only a practical realist like his ‘real-estate investing’ brother can uphold.  

After their secret is outed, and the boys discover that the money was the product of a high-precision train heist (and not a gift from God), Damian struggles with moral dilemmas regarding his decisions. “Can you still do good with stolen money?” he ponders. In the only bit of conventionality, one of the shady accomplices to the robbery comes looking for his cut, thus providing the antagonising looming threat of the movie.

An excellent example of magical realism, Danny Boyle’s direction is phenomenal, as he gets masterful performances from all the actors, his transitions are surreal, and the color palette that he uses, just helps the movie ‘pop’. Vivid and wondrous, it’s not a world that actually exists. It’s an imagining of what the world should be…

A moral tale that’s not preachy, this is one kid’s movie that is a must-watch, and would indubitably leave anyone with a glowing feeling that can only be associated with the wonderment of childhood and the glory of righteousness.

Suggested similar movies: Pan’s Labyrinth

Also by Danny Boyle: Trainspotting, 28 days later, Sunshine.