February 6, 2006 -- “Breakfast on Pluto” is a mythical tale about a flamboyant transvestite who gets into a scrap with the Irish Republican Army, then gets beat up by the London police and generally has the most unlikely life one can imagine. Despite all the bad things that happen to him, the fellow manages to keep a positive attitude most of the time and always dresses in style. This is one of those films where the character is not really as interesting as the plot would indicate (the plot is even more outrageous than I have outlined here).
It seems a number of critics, directors, writers and others in the film industry are under the mistaken impression that having a character in a movie who is other than heterosexual automatically makes that character interesting. Not so. Sexuality and strength of character are two very different things. Merely basing a movie on a non-hetero character doesn't obviate the need for the screenwriter, actor and director to create an interesting character. This was also a shortcoming in another film that came out this year, “Brokeback Mountain.”
This film does have an interesting plot, and it has a main character who is a transvestite named Patrick “Kitten” Braden. That's almost enough to make a good movie, but not quite. This guy, or gal, or whatever, is like teflon, all the bullets of life just bounce off of him, leaving him unaffected. As a result, he just seems to waltz along in a kind of daze. This makes him kind of boring, even though he is a very pleasant, upbeat character. When he finally does react to something and takes action, it really isn't enough to give his character any kind of edge.
The story has a kind of mythic quality about it. After London police beat him repeatedly to get information about an IRA bombing, they finally let him go, and one of the cops, feeling sorry for him, gets him a job in a sort of sex fantasy shop. The film is rich in those kinds of ironies. There is also a bit of a movie in-joke involving Stephen Rea, who plays a magician named Bertie. His role in this film is very similar to the role he is best known for, a man in love with an attractive transvestite in “The Crying Game.” This film is a bit of an encore for him.
“Breakfast on Pluto” is an amusing little romp, with all the substance of cotton candy. Cillian Murphy does a great job playing this carefree, naive, whimsical character. This is the kind of showy role that actors crave. Murphy looks better as a woman, by the way, than many women do. The film rates a C+.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.