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Thursday, April 28, 2005 04:37 am

movie review


Who would have thought that director Danny Boyle, the man responsible for Trainspotting, a gritty look at England’s modern drug culture, and 28 Days Later, a grisly zombie film, would be capable of making the sweetest film of the year? His latest, Millions, is a much-needed breath of fresh air at the local multiplex. Brimming with hope, good cheer, and an unerring belief that people are good at heart, capable of great charity and compassion, this film offers a modern fairy tale that challenges the viewer to embrace its optimistic outlook on life and ultimately proves impossible to resist.

Young Anthony and Damian (Lewis Owen McGibbon and Alexander Nathan Etel) are handling the recent death of their mother remarkably well. Although their father, Ronnie (James Nesbitt), is still grieving, they are taking the loss of their mother in stride, having discovered that it does have one advantage — if you mention that your mom has just died, people tend to give you things.

One thing they didn’t ask for, however, is a cash-filled bag that seemingly falls from the sky. Young enough to believe in miracles, the boys don’t question where the money came from; their only concern is what to do with it. Ever practical, 9-year-old Anthony thinks they should buy real estate, for he knows that the chances are good that their purchases will only become more valuable. He begins a whirlwind tour, looking at high-priced condos without his father. However, 7-year-old Damian has other plans for the money, and they’re quite simple — he wants to give it away to those in need.

Boyle’s great gift has always been the energy in his filmmaking. There’s an undeniable sense of pacing and vigor in his movies, and it’s used to great effect here as he creates a whimsical world in which miracles are possible and children are able to conduct themselves as adults while maintaining their innocence. Rendered with a sense of childlike wonder, Boyle’s film builds a sense of eager anticipation in the viewer. Damian’s selflessness knows no bounds, and even though his charitable acts drive his pragmatic brother up the wall, Anthony knows that his sibling is acting from the heart.

The film does run out of steam at the end, especially when we learn the origin of the cash-stuffed bag. Be that as it may, the film’s heart is in the right place, much like its angelic protagonist, who proudly lives his life by the Golden Rule.

Also in theaters this week. . .

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [PG] Just before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is rescued by his researcher friend Ford Prefect, and they begin an adventure.  ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

The Interpreter [PG-13] An FBI agent is assigned to protect a United Nations interpreter who overheard an assassination plot. ShowPlace West, ShowPlace East

Kung Fu Hustle [R] Comedy set in 1940s China about a hapless wannabe thug who tries to become a member of a notorious gang. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East

xXx: The State of the Union [PG-13] Darius Stone (Ice Cube), an agent in the xXx program, is sent to Washington, D.C. to stop a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Parkway Pointe, ShowPlace East