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Light as Air,But with a Heart,
This review is from: Breakfast On Pluto [DVD]  (DVD)
"Breakfast on Pluto," (2004),another triumph from Irish director Neil Jordan,(The Crying Game [DVD] ), was made with support from both the Irish, and Northern Irish film boards. It has a light, jokey style, plenty of wit, and a sound track that refracts ironically from the action. And then there are those robins, slurping up the cream from the milk bottles, commenting on the human action around them, and quoting --gay--Anglo-Irish humorist/playwright Oscar Wilde. But at its heart,this film couldn't be more serious.
The movie was based on a best-selling, raucous novel by Patrick Mc Cabe; Mc Cabe and Jordan wrote the film script. It was filmed on location, in the lovely countryside of Co. Kilkenny, and London. It's set during the swinging late 1960's/ early 70s of that city, a period that, in addition to nifty clothes and cars, also, unfortunately, saw a lot of Irish Republican Army terrorist activity.
The gorgeous Cillian Murphy (Red Eye [DVD]) stars -- if you think he's cute as a boy, you ought to see him as a girl. He gives a remarkable performance as Patrick Braden, who prefers to be known as Kitten, and has a way with a sewing machine. He really deserved at least an Oscar nomination for this job, but had to settle for a Golden Globe nomination. Patrick is a foundling, left in a basket on the doorstep of the local church, where Liam Neeson (Taken [DVD] ), plays the Father Liam, the priest who finds him and quite likely fathered him. Or so the village, and the robins think, on his lovely young one-time housekeeper, said to resemble the American actress Mitzi Gaynor. Braden's stepmother, Mrs. Braden, is played by Ruth Mc Cabe,(The Snapper  [VHS]) who has pretty much grown up on camera. Author of the book, Patrick Mc Cabe, plays one of the boy Patrick's less than-happy-with-the-boy school teachers: for it seems that nobody can keep young Patrick out of girl's clothes and makeup.
Well, eventually young Patrick must leave the charming village of his birth, of course, and start making his way to London, to which his mother is supposed to have fled. On his way, he tarries briefly with popular Irish entertainer Gavin Friday, playing Billy Hatchett,a gay local rock star. In London, he'll run across real rock star Bryan Ferry, playing Mr. Silky String,a serial killer; Brendan Gleeson as John Joe Kenny, an entertainment park performer; the very talented Ian Hart as a P.C. Wallis, and the Irish actor Stephen Rea as Bertie,a mediocre magician who gets attached to Patrick(Kitten) Brady. Kitten Brady will have many adventures in London, some good, some heart-breaking; he will face them all with sweet-tempered equanimity, eventually find his birth mother, and realize she has created a life for herself in which there's no room for him.
Jordan, as is well-known, has frequently worked with Neeson, Gleeson, and Rea, and that shows in the fine performances these stalwarts give him. It's a funny thing, a very bold Cockney friend of mine once found herself standing next to Neeson in the then-famed New York bar, Denim and Diamonds: all she knew was she was standing next to a tall, well-built, good-looking man in a beautiful, beautifully fitted suit. Well, she was watching some young lovers across the bar room, and, inevitably, she began elbowing this guy standing next to her, chatting away about this couple. So they had a friendly chat -- mind you, she had nothing in particular in mind: this friend of mine certainly was a cougar before they'd even invented the concept, an ex- of hers used to call her the Disco Granny, but she knew she was quite a few years older than this man. She just wanted to talk. It was only after Neeson left that the bartender told her who she'd been elbowing. She'd just thought he was a nice, good-looking man in a gorgeous suit. And so he was.
It has been said that the director's pictures are generally about men who find themselves in love with inappropriate love objects, and you'd have to say "Breakfast" fits that mode: Neeson gives us a priest who really appears to have loved his housekeeper, rather than just lusted after her. But no matter: in an Irish village of the 1960's-70's they can have no permanent relationship. Happily for him, however, he comes to realize that, while it may not be popularly approved, he can manage a relationship with his son.