~ There is only one journey: going inside yourself. ~
- Rainer Maria Rilke


Millions ~ Saturday, May 06, 2006

We saw it last night. It was very different from what I anticipated, based on the following description: "In the days before Britain converts from pounds to the Euro, two young brothers intercept a bag of money meant for destruction."

This I interpreted as a "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" type of heist film featuring two young ruffian/tough kids as the protags with a get rich quick scheme (esp. because "intercept" to me implies volition on the part of the boys).

So I settled in to watch it without enthusiasm, already decided that I wasn't in the mood for an ironic, hip and cynical piece, seasoned with many knowing winks to the audience and PoMo references--and that if this is what it proved to be, I would leave and read. Nor did the fact that it was directed by Danny Boyle (of "Trainspotting" "Shallow Grave" and "28 Days Later" fame) serve to reassure me on this score.

Imagine my surprise then, when it turned out to be a rather sweet, good-hearted and quirky comedy-drama. Damian, the main protagonist, is the younger of two brothers; a winsomely freckled, adorably precocious lad who is obsessed with the lives of the saints and with the idea of doing good. He and his brother Anthony have just lost their mother, and are moving to a new, reasonably upscale subdivision in Liverpool--presumably so they and their father (who sleeps with his arm flung around pillows that he has laid out on his wife's side of the bed) can escape the memories and make a new beginning.

In certain ways, it reminded me of "In America." In both films, a family is coping with loss--"In America" shows us a grieving family, dealing with the loss of a son, and trying to make a new beginning in NYC. In both films two young actors have to carry the majority of the dramatic arc (a pair of sisters, in IA)--and, IMO, the young actors succeed admirably in both films.

Both films to me also carried strong Magical Realism elements, though they were more hidden in IA--more of a subtext or a facet to the narrative, as told by the elder of the two sisters. In "Millions", the MR elements were far more explicit--and, too, the world of "Millions" was generally a safer, more comforting place, with saturated colours, loving families and an amusingly obnoxious, bicycle-patrolling cop riding the neighborhood streets. "In America", by contrast, showed us a gritty urban reality that, as adults, we recognised, even as we saw it transformed into something more benign and safe in the eyes of the children--and for me, awareness of their optimistic heedlessness was one of the powerful sources of tension in the film (even as their innocence did seem to provide them with some measure of protection).

At any rate, "Millions" had charm, wit and optimism, and it was great fun to see the very different ways in which each of the two boys were resolved upon making use of their unexpected windfall of cash. The end was perhaps a touch preachy, but I still thought it a beguiling film--and worth watching if you're in the mood for a fairly lighthearted bit of fun.

Aside: I am now on page 340 of the mss ::and the crowd goes wild!::--which works out to ~ 100 pp in three weeks/15 days of writing. But, today, I have to spend going back to revise several scenes. I haven't quite worked out the logistics of it all yet, but I had one of those "shower revelations" (dubbed thusly because they take place whilst one is showering) this morning and realised how I could (maybe, possibly) address one of the issues I have with the story as it stands. Yippee for shower revelations, and caffeinated [un]sleeps, if the latter played any small part in leading the way to my new direction. Sucks to have to go back--but at least it's now, and not when the whole book is finished.

::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 3:39 PM::::


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Anduril Elessar
Susan Deefholts

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