A father and his 2 young sons move to a new housing estate, still mourning the death of their mother. The youngest of the sons, Damian (Alex Etel), is a loner who lives in his own fantasy world and somehow communicates with dead Saints. One day while in his cubby house by a train line, a bag seemingly falls from the sky, stuffed with half a million dollars in it. Damian thinks this is a message from God to give the money to the poor, while his older brother Anthony (Lewis McGibbon), sees it as his chance to spend big and to make him more popular at school. Then one day a mysterious stranger arrives to get back the money and threatens the boy’s new world. Mixed in all this is their father Ronnie (James Nesbitt), who doesn’t know what’s going on at first, but becomes drawn into the boys adventures.Danny Boyle is the director of this British film, and this is a major change of pace from the man who’s last effort was the zombies on the loose film ‘28 Days Later’. His previous films include ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting’. While he still maintains the visual flair that he perfected in those previous films, he has gone for a more low key approach for this one, which boasts a clever, tight script and good performances. The script uses a small subplot about Britain joining the European currency within the month of the boys finding the cash - which means that the money they have would become worthless within 30 days. This gives the story more focus and urgency as the boys try to spend the money in their own ways, plus the fact that the stranger who is after it, needs it before the cut off date.

The boys playing the young sons are very good. They are very unlike the usual precocious brats usually seen in Hollywood films and give very real and genuine performances. Ales Etel plays Damian as a boy who is coping with the loss of his mother in his own way, while seeing for the first time, how money can change people. Lewis McGibbon as his older brother displays the edge needed for someone who gets greedy by having so much money put upon him, and tries to make Damian as selfish as he is. James Nesbitt as the father is great in a sympathetic role. The people playing their new neighbours are amusing, showing how if people get the slightest hint of there being a lot of money lying around, they’ll come calling!

This is very much a family type film, without being sickly sweet or coy. You don’t get a sense of being ‘talked down to’, and the performances from the young boys are at the same good level as the adults. The film has a good mix of pathos, thrills and humour with excellent visual touches. A welcome change of pace from Danny Boyle, who continues to show his versatility as a director. A very good, mature kids film worth catching.

Rating out of 10: 8

Comments Off