Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Breakfast on Pluto

I had low expectations of Breakfast on Pluto -- is this a common theme in my attitude towards movies?! -- largely because I find director Neil Jordan to be more miss than hit, but it had Cillian Murphy in it, and he has impressed me in a few films lately, so...

All I knew was the following: transvestite yada yada IRA terrorist yada. Not much to go on, is it? And the first few minutes had me baffled, as two robins alighted on top bottles of milk on a doorstep and as they chirruped to one another, their dialogue appeared subtitled on the screen. Already this was not what I had expected. And although this particular gimmick is used very rarely, it (with hindsight) perfectly sets the scene for the modern fairytale that follows.

The film tells the tale of a young man, Patrick, who was adopted out shortly after being born to an unwed mother in a small town in Southern Ireland. The mother then fled to London, where "the biggest city in the world swallowed her up" and no one seemingly heard from her again.

At an early age, our hero begins cross-dressing, and he adopts the name Kitten. We follow him through many of the important chapters in his life, culminating with the decision to track down his now-mythical real mother.

It would be difficult to present (even if it were my way) a synopsis of this film that came anywhere near close to conveying the myriad pleasures within. The story is, at its heart, a simple one; but it is the not just the story that touches and rewards the viewer here.

The performances are all wonderful (even if I did have the odd qualm about Murphy's voice being slightly too soft in parts), and the supporting cast certainly do much more than support, since they are indeed the very foundations upon which this story is built: in order to believe the arc of Kitten, one has to first appreciate the background from which he hails.

My first thought at the end was that this was a great fun yarn. But it is true that there are several dark moments within it: terrorism, bombings, killings, attempted murders, and police beatings all feature. And yet, like in Black Book, the overall vibe of the movie is one of a rollickin' good ride, as we might say here in Blighty.

Do yourself a favour and watch this movie. I'd be surprised if you didn't enjoy it immensely. I give Breakfast on Pluto a massive 80 points out of 100.

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