Indie Gems: Breakfast on Pluto
One of my favorite things about film is watching an actor, who's been moderately type-cast completely blow you away with a performance that seemingly came out of left field. Cillian Murphy did that for me. Not that I ever doubted his talents, in fact he's one of the better actors out there. When I first saw 'Breakfast on Pluto' I had only seen him in villainous roles ('Batman Begins', 'Red Eye') and of course in Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later'. So when I came across this film in a magazine I was immediately intrigued.
'Breakfast on Pluto' follows a young man named Patrick Braden. He's not your normal lad in 1970's Ireland. He's gay, he prefers to be called "Kitten" and dress up like a woman. He lives with an aunt and doesn't know his real parents. He sets off to London to escape his town that will never understand him, and also to locate his mother. He has run ins with the police, gets picked up by a Rock n Roll band and falls for the lead singer, works in the Red Light District in a peep show. He keeps his friends Charley (Ruth Negga) and Irwin (Laurence Kinlan) close. He has a few run-ins with a priest named Father Liam (Liam Neeson) that mean more than they appear. Honestly, 1970's London is no place for an Irish transvestite.
Cillian Murphy really transformed himself in this role.
He plucked his eye brows, shaved off all the hair on his body, wears tuns of make up and wigs. He does indeed look somewhat like a woman. He really gets Kitten's naive, someone distorted personality. Murphy was vastly underrated for this performance. When I did my Oscar picks for 2006 I had him as one of them and was sadly let down. Then even more let down when Felicity Huffman was nominated for her gender-bending role in 'Transamerica' ('Pluto' is far superior). She was good yes, but why play favorites. Murphy was better.
Director Neil Jordan ('The Brave One' 'Interview with a Vampire') really captures the look and feel of that era. With the bright, vibrant colors, fast takes and fitting music. They do a wonderful job of showing the beauty of London's underground scene even when it was in troubling times. It's nice to see Neeson in there as always. He may play the "older, mentor-ish" roles often, but they never get old to me. This guy is great.
Memorable Quote: "If I wasn't a transvestite terrorist, would you marry me?" - Patrick "Kitten" Braden (Cillian Murphy)