Volume 18 • Issue 27 | November 18 - 24, 2005

“Breakfast on Pluto”
Directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Cillian Murphy and Liam Neeson
Now showing at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema
143 East Houston Street between Forsyth and Eldridge
(212-330-8182; www.landmarktheaters.com)

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

In “Breakfast on Pluto,” Cillian Murphy (l) is quite the charmer.

‘Breakfast on Pluto’ drags on

By Noah Fowle

For those who felt that “Batman Begins” didn’t offer enough of the antics of the smooth-faced Cillian Murphy, then “Breakfast on Pluto” should make up for lost times. During a violent interrogation scene halfway through the film, Murphy channels his frenetic lunacy into the character of Patrick “Kitten” Braden, who eats up his punishment with cackles of glee. Director Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”) proves just as adept at casting for transvestites now and as he did then, and Murphy brays his falsetto with a confidence that would make Rupaul jealous. Unfortunately, the movie, adapted from Patrick McCabe novel, is laid out in more than 30 chapters, complete with superimposed titles. The result is a wonderful character study, but a disjointed film that is much better narrated by its saccharine-pop soundtrack than by Murphy himself.

Abandoned by his mother on the steps of the local church, Patrick’s resulting life is packed with abuse and neglect. But despite his near constant persecution, he manages to navigate it with his prototypical Irish humor and wit. As his gender bending tendencies blossom, Patrick maintains a coquettish amusement with his environment, which includes both the Catholic Church and the Irish Civil War. Patrick, or “Kitten” as he prefers to be called, is much too bored with the serious world of church and revolutions and finally embarks on his own fairytale to track down his mother in London.

Despite being homeless, Patrick manages to sport an array of feminine costumes and a bizarre yet even-keeled outlook on life. While searching for a mother he never knew, he is met by a constant string of father figures who oftentimes double as his lovers. He tours with a rock band, camps out with bikers, takes up show business, turns tricks, and even finds employment in a nudie booth. In between these comic, tragic, and often violent episodes, an ancillary story between Patrick’s childhood friends (Ruth Negga and Laurence Kinlan) is connected haphazardly.

After numerous beatings and exploitations, it becomes obvious that Patrick’s spirit cannot be broken, but still the film is relentless in conveying this. While Murphy stands up well to both the physical and emotional abuse, it’s the audience who finally tires of his ordeal. The fierce, colorful montages in the film stand out as its strong point, but like the simplistic lyrics and chords that provide their backbone, further dissection of “Breakfast on Pluto” reveals little more than the glossy packaging of a drag queen.


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