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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyably camp if superfical journey through the 70's, 16 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Breakfast On Pluto [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Thirteen years after "The Crying Game" became a box office hit on the
other side of the Atlantic, It's in all probability that Neil Jordan at
some point always planned to revisit the topic of transvestism that
formed the basis of one of the most notorious twists in film history.
But with "Breakfast on Pluto" the Irish director behind the similarly
quirky dark and quirky "The Butcher Boy" switches the transvestite
subject of the film from supporting player to lead protagonist. Little
surprise considering seeing that the movie is an adaptation of Pat
McCabes little known novel.

Set in 1970's Ireland the film chronicles the slightly bizarre life of
Patrick "Kitten" Braden (played with sublime soft spoken campiness by
Cillian Murphy), as eccentric a character as goes his appearance by the
standards of the time. The movie opens in an appropriately upbeat
fashion as Patrick, looking like a more dressed down version of Mr.
Humphrey's from "Are You Being Served" pushes a pram through the
streets of London. As the oft used plot device of a voice over from
Patrick narrates we're taken back in flashback to his childhood, from
where he was left on a families doorstep as a baby, to his unsteady
relationship with his foster mother and sister and his run ins with the
school authorities which causes nothing but consternation for his
pseudo-family. But It's once our hero (or is that heroine?) leaves
school that things become slightly more interesting. An encounter he
and his friends have with a glam rock band that has ties with the IRA
and tragedy that soon follows eventually lead him to travel to London
in search of his biological mother(who supposedly bears a striking
resemblance for Mitzi Gaynor). A mission that has It's fair share of
darkly idiosyncratic twists and turns.

"Breakfast on Pluto" like so much of Neil Jordan's directorial work in
recent years has hardly gained much mainstream recognition and to be
frank, It's not entirely without surprise as although not a bad film by
any stretch It's something of a patchy oddity. As the film's title
suggests and It's meaning glibly explained by a the closet gay lead
vocalist of the rock band that Patrick meets. The film isn't so much
about Patrick's goal but the journey he must take to fulfil it. But
It's a journey that while it might have been a life altering experience
for It's central character it's less so for the audience. Although
proceedings are given a boost from brief turns from Stephen Rea and
Brendan Gleeson as a couple of peculiar individuals that Patrick comes
across, the bright lights and the seedier side of London in any period
seen on film Isn't something that hasn't been seen and done better a
million times before. Patrick's at times erratic behaviour at times
doesn't entirely ring true in the context of how it at times is
received by those he meets. One such case when a night out leads to
Patrick being arrested by two police officers who suspect him of being
a IRA bomber leading to one of the most unusual not to say brutal
interrogation sequences put on screen. The IRA sub plot which is
present earlier in the film, seems largely superficial aside from
events that take place towards the movies close but doesn't justify
some of the focus it's given.

For all of the more touching, poignantly humorous and moving moments
there are in the film and there are It's fair share there's really
nothing new or insightful that is to be said when all is said and done.
Murphy is staggering in the lead role as Patrick with a blend of good
natured, naivety and endearing kookiness that his effeminate clothing
Isn't just plain old window dressing. He could wear a plain old white
t-shirt a pair of blue jeans and have you convinced. With Ruth Negga
faring well and offering solid support as Charlie, Patrick's best
friend some slack is left to be taken over by Liam Neeon who is
adequate if unspectacular as middle aged priest Father Liam, a role
that while at first offer some interest and adds a certain weight to
the plot begins to fall apart lightly given the context as how the plot
unfold towards the films slightly over due climax.

Although everything doesn't come together quite as Jordan would have
liked as the result of a script that he himself co-adapted. His
reliable confident direction still manages to just hold things together
and although uneven "Breakfast on Pluto" what it might lack in depth it
partially makes up for in a breezy whimsy that intermingles with the
more austere aspects of the story, bolstered by mainly first rate
performances. Although it wouldn't be the first film I would recommend
as a nostalgic look back at the 70's.
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Location: Clydebank, Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,387,613