Thursday, 11.35pm, BBC1
Danny Boyle, the British film-maker who is about to make his mark as the director of the Olympics opening ceremony, cannot be accused of getting stuck in a rut. With a background in theatre and TV, Boyle has worked in a variety of genres. From his darkly comic debut Shallow Grave, about a group of flatmates who embark on a greedy game of cat and mouse, to the lifeaffirming, Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle’s main criteria appears to be a desire to tell a ripping yarn.
Millions is an endearing modern fable about a young boy determined to do the right thing. Still grieving for his mother, seven-year-old Damian (Alex Etel, left with Boyle), takes refuge in an ornate dencum-shrine he has built in the Cheshire countryside. Out of the blue, his reverie is shattered when a suitcase full of bank notes comes crashing in, thrown from a passing train.
Showing the bounty to his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon), Damian finds himself at odds with his sibling, who is keen to start spending. Damian, an introverted and religious boy wants to use the money to help others.
While Anthony starts to plan his climb up the social ladder, Damian uses it for small acts of kindness such as taking tramps for pizza. Eventually, the boys realise that the money is stolen, and that the thieves will be coming for it.
Millions is at its heart a cautionary tale about the temptations of mammon, but while there is an innocence to the film it is far from sanitised. Boyle can never be accused of mawkishness. Dealing with a popular dilemma of the temptation of easy money (we’ve all wondered…), Boyle explores it with integrity and authenticity. Values he will, no doubt, bring to Friday’s Olympic extravaganza.
The story behind the film
Money features prominently in almost all Boyle’s films, but he remains relatively untouched. ‘I’m not very good with money, which helps, because I don’t value it in the way some people value it. I don’t really understand money or business, deep down, it’s just not in my nature.’ Simone Andrews
12.10AM, RTÉ ONE