Fantabulous transvestite Patrick “Kitten” Brady (Cillian Murphy) haphazardly drifts through the ‘60s and ‘70s in Neil Jordan’s magic surrealism-tinged fable Breakfast on Pluto, a peculiar concoction made up of The Crying Game’s gender-bending and The Butcher Boy’s period realism. Kitten’s escapades serve as a filter for Jordan’s examination of the era’s political and social upheaval, a narrative device that might have been more successful if his vignette-heavy narrative weren’t so gratingly jaunty – like the two talking robins who bookend the story, the film frequently emits an all-too-cute bounciness – and if Kitten weren’t portrayed by Murphy as a flighty, cavalier ditz with a laughably breathy voice and an ignorance to the larger realities engulfing her rather ho-hum life. The film links personal and national struggles for identity via Kitten’s search for her birth mother, an odyssey whose fun is largely attributable to stellar supporting performances from Jordan regulars Stephen Rea (as one of Kitten’s many lovers) and Liam Neeson (as her hometown priest). However, despite its sometimes-delectable whimsy, Breakfast on Pluto’s uneasy marriage between down-in-the-muck naturalism and capricious fantasy – a dichotomy embodied by the cross-dressing Kitten – winds up being only moderately satisfying.
(2005 New York Film Festival)