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Heroes of the Zeroes: Millions

by on July 17, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

Rated PG

The only great Danny Boyle film featuring “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” 2004’s “Millions” was an urbane, thoughtful fable with Lego-bright color, vast imagination and a stout belief in meaningful displays of humanity.

Boyle’s only family film also achieved a sense of tremendous spirituality that didn’t kowtow to specific denominations and bits of danger that never felt too scary.

A beatific blast, “Millions” intelligently discusses charity, saintliness and altruism at a child’s level without simple sermonizing. Plus, its violence-free, mild-thriller plot about finding a fat sack of cash turns it into a sort of “No Country for Young Boys.”

A bag with millions of British pounds lands on young Damian (Alex Etel), crushing his makeshift fort. None the wiser, Damian believes God sent it; he sees visions of patron saints of various persuasions while believing his dead mother is one of them.

Actually, it was a botched dropoff in a plot to pilfer pounds days before Britain converts to the Euro and negates their value. Hiding the loot from their dad (James Nesbitt), Damian and his brother, Alex (Lewis McGibbon), seek to spend it by the deadline in different ways, while a thief pursues the lost cash.

Damian’s innocence proves inspiring to those around him in endearing ways, and through his and Alex’s lingering loneliness, “Millions” becomes a compassionate story about letting go of burdens and sadness.

Together, their family achieves perspective — knowing that faith of even an indeterminate stripe brings strength and small gestures can make huge differences.