Breakfast on Pluto
Time Out says
His name is Patrick Braden, but as the Candide-like central character of Neil Jordan's latest film likes to say, you can call him "Kitten." Abandoned by his mother and suffering the usual indignities of an Irish working-class childhood, Braden (Murphy) develops his fantastic feline-monikered alter ego—a pouty transvestite with thick skin and a taste for patterned blouses. Our hapless hero ends up adopting a number of additional personas (glam-rock groupie, coquettish rent boy, accomplice-cum-patsy for the IRA) as he navigates through the turbulent 1970s and searches for his MIA ma. But one constant remains: So long as Kitten bats her eyes and looks Marc Bolan fabulous, neither barbs nor bombs can dent Braden's satin-sheathed shell.
Like many of the filmmaker's previous works, Breakfast on Pluto deals with Ireland's violent history by politicizing the personal; no matter where the cross-dressing Braden goes or who he meets, his story never leaves "the Troubles" far behind. Problem is, Jordan has covered a lot of the same ground before—from gender-bending role-play in The Crying Game to the damaged-goods magical realism of The Butcher Boy—and done it far more evenly and eloquently. Not even Murphy's totally transformative performance can keep a nagging lack of purpose from nipping at the narrative's heels. Kitten may eventually discover who (s)he is, but the film's own identity crisis never gets resolved. (Now Playing.)