Breakfast on Pluto
Director: Neil Jordan (Mona Lisa , The Crying Game)
When Neil Jordan releases a new film it is something of a treat. As director of dark and challenging films such as Mona Lisa and the awesome The Crying Game you may be expecting more of the same from this new work. Sure, it is set in the years of ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland and, yes, once again a leading – the leading – character is a transvestite but any similarity ends right there. This is a far lighter film – amusing and entertaining – set in the period of the prolonged (some might say endless) peace process.
The first thing that I did after seeing this film was to get out my DVD of The Crying Game and watch it again. Breakfast on Pluto and The Crying Game make for interesting counterpoints. B.O.P. is more ‘Billy Elliot’ than ‘Princesa’ and it may be seen by some as making light of the armed struggle in Ireland, to say nothing of other struggles.
Cillian Murphy plays ‘Kitten’, born Patrick Braden on Breakfast on Pluto. It is clear from an early stage in his life that Patrick is going to be different – very different from the other inhabitants of the small town in Northern Ireland where he grows up. His developing identity as a woman is illustrated by a series of glimpses of his childhood. Played lightly for laughs, and erring towards Vaudevillian stereotypes at times, the camp comedy rolls out smoothly. When Kitten sets out to find his real mother, who left him as a baby, he enters into a series of adventures where he meets wannabe rock stars on the road, discovers love and loses it, has an improbable confrontation with the IRA, becomes a torch singer in a night club … and then some! The film does not lack pace or humour. Kitten is irrepressibly outrageous and genuinely loveable; a tribute to Cillian Murphy’s acting skills.
Watch out for Brian Ferry in a cameo role!
Note: If you haven’t seen Jordan’s The Crying Game ditch any idea of seeing B.O.P. until you do and get out the DVD of a former moment of Neil Jordan movie greatness. There are similarities between these movies – as before mentioned – but the geo-political insights and personal histories offered up by The Crying Game present a soul-disturbing insight into our troubled human history with which the B.O.P. ‘boy-now-girl' diary cannot compare.
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