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Breakfast on Pluto

Breakfast on Pluto

4.7 4
Director: Neil Jordan, Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson

Cast: Neil Jordan, Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson

An Irish boy becomes an emotional and sexual outcast as the 1960s fade into the 1970s in this period drama from director Neil Jordan. When he was just a baby in the early '60s, Patrick Braden (Conor McEvoy) was abandoned by his mother and left on the doorstep of a church overseen by Father Bernard (Liam Neeson). Placed in a foster home, sensitive Patrick doesn't much


An Irish boy becomes an emotional and sexual outcast as the 1960s fade into the 1970s in this period drama from director Neil Jordan. When he was just a baby in the early '60s, Patrick Braden (Conor McEvoy) was abandoned by his mother and left on the doorstep of a church overseen by Father Bernard (Liam Neeson). Placed in a foster home, sensitive Patrick doesn't much care for the emotionally chilly attitude of his new "family," and psychologically buffers himself against the world by writing stories that make fun of Father Bernard and the other authority figures in his life. As he grows into adulthood, Patrick (played as an adult by Cillian Murphy) also discovers that he enjoys dressing in women's clothes and prefers the company of men, and as a teenager he falls into an affair with Billy Hatchet (Gavin Friday), a nightclub performer who also runs guns for the Irish Republican Army. In the early '70s, Patrick -- who has since taken on the drag name "Kitten" -- makes his way to London, where he becomes involved with Bertie (Stephen Rea), a small-time nightclub magician who gives the young man a place to say, a sense of security, and a job as his on-stage assistant. However, Patrick's idyllic life with Bertie proves short-lived when his old friends come to town on IRA "business." Breakfast on Pluto also features a supporting performance from former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Filmmaker Neil Jordan seems to seek out stories built around protagonists who are outsiders struggling to function in inhospitable and often openly hostile environments. And in Patrick Braden, Breakfast on Pluto's protagonist, he's found just such a character. Abandoned by his mother while still an infant, Patrick grows up in foster homes and develops some sexual-identity issues. Eventually he leaves his small Irish community and goes to London, where he works as a cross-dressing cabaret singer while trying to find his mother, who is rumored to be living there. At one point reduced to street prostitution, Patrick -- who prefers to be known as "Kitten" -- refuses to surrender his individuality and remains true to his own nature, which is delicately superficial. Jordan surrounds Kitten (played as an adult by Cillian Murphy) with vaguely Dickensian characters, among them a street-smart vagabond (Brendan Gleeson), a second-rate magician (Stephen Rea), and a kindly priest (Liam Neeson). He also plunges Kitten into some colorful, albeit unlikely, situations: At one point, following the bombing of a London pub in which he's been working, Kitten is believed to be an IRA soldier. As in The Crying Game, Jordan uses the Irish-English "troubles" of the 1970s as an underlying stark reality; but since this is Kitten's story, there's much more whimsy at play. This would not have worked if not for Murphy's astonishing performance, which makes this unpredictable movie a rewarding change of pace.
All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Thematically and topically, Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto is a kind of 21st century, post-sexual revolution update of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. But whereas scholars have correctly assessed Woolf's novel as intrinsically comic, the wryness of Jordan's picture remains confined to its glossy surface, masking unbearably tragic narrative roots. At heart, Pluto is a film about a victim -- and it rests on the question of survival, investigating the power of the imagination (and self-reinvention) to help one transcend the limitations and burdens that life thrusts onto one's back. For Patrick (Patricia) "Kitten" Braden (Cillian Murphy) -- the bastard offspring of a priest and a waif, bereft on a doorstep during infancy by his single mother and packed off to live with a tyrannical stepmother -- survival is twofold: first, so deeply imbibing the spirit of the mother he lacks and so making that identity his own that he becomes all but invincible; and second, reshaping and reworking his story as a self-myth that enables him, psychologically and spiritually, to cement his own spin on reality (in our minds and his own) as a storyteller. In co-adapting Patrick McCabe's picaresque novel, Jordan and McCabe couldn't have approached Braden's tale from any angle other than filtering it through Kitten's rose-colored autobiographical flashback -- the grief of the story would have been devastating. The film thrives on a conceptual level, but only because Jordan and McCabe approach the story as a piece of subjective whimsy, a Victorian narrative construction (echoing Henry Fielding) with cloying flourishes. Such is a masterstroke -- the approach makes the story psychologically bearable for Patrick and emotionally bearable for the audience. The computer-generated birds, the swirling strains of "Sugar Baby Love," the kitschy fairy-tale presentation -- function as desperate emotional shields projected by Kitten. But Jordan demonstrates keen intuition by never being content to leave the film on this level. Pluto acquires depth because of those rare and precious moments when Jordan and McCabe allow truth to emerge through Braden's self-defense mechanism (and through the narrative concealments), and the entire persona of Kitten reveals itself as a kind of ruse, a certifiably eccentric means of surviving trauma unscathed. Pluto's most devastating scene -- when magician Bertie (Stephen Rea) hypnotizes Kitten before an audience and lures her into ultimately believing that an acoustic speaker is her mother incarnate (note how Murphy races up and throws his entire weight against the speaker, sobbing) -- is also Jordan's most inspired: under hypnosis, with no defense mechanisms to guard him, the real Patrick, with his inner desperation, comes bursting through his facades. In the end, Jordan makes his gutsiest move by equating Patrick's coping mechanism with the full formation of Patricia's identity -- and treating it as a healthy occurrence instead of a pathology. All of which is brilliant enough and impressive enough to make this one of Jordan's most deeply satisfying works. And in terms of conception and execution, it is. Unfortunately, it suffers from an overwhelming related problem, embedded deeply into the material: because of Jordan's whimsical, rose-colored, distancing take on the story, it almost completely -- by virtue of approach -- lacks emotional weight. Another criticism commonly directed at the film can be deemed negligible. All descriptions of Pluto as a "cinematic Candide" fail, for the apparently loosely knit structure of Pluto cannot withstand comparison to greater films of Voltairean narrative architecture (such as Lindsay Anderson's O Lucky Man!). Simply put, Pluto's array of characters isn't quite varied and multicolored enough. When one reflects on the Jordan film, its British and Irish characters and events run together into a kind of shapeless blob in one's mind. But no matter: the film's picaresque leanings are sophistic. For beneath the outer layers of its structure -- seemingly so episodic, so haphazard -- Jordan pins down a calculated and deliberate character arc. He follows Patrick from a nebulous assumed identity (in the early portions of the film) to the confident woman who is Patricia; her ability to land a home, both nominally (with the address of the strip club where she ultimately works) and spiritually (with her father's reacceptance of her) at the story's conclusion brings the story a nearly perfect wrap-up. Kitten has become not merely a man posing as a woman, but a woman incarnate. And Jordan, McCabe, and Murphy make her transformation so convincing and credible, in the end, that they are able to inspire all but the most hardened cynics among us.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary with director Neil Jordan and Cillian Murphy; Behind the scenes of Breakfast on Pluto

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cillian Murphy Patrick (Patricia) 'Kitten' Braden
Stephen Rea Bertie
Brendan Gleeson John Joe Kenny
Liam Neeson Father Bernard
Eva Birthistle Eily Bergin
Liam Cunningham 1st Biker
Bryan Ferry Mr. Silky String
Gavin Friday Billy Hatchett
Ian Hart PC Wallis
Laurence Kinlan Irwin
Ruth McCabe Ma Braden
Ruth Negga Charlie
Steven Waddington Inspector Routledge
Morgan Jones Building Site Worker
Mary Coughlan Housekeeper
Conor McEvoy Patrick (10)
Charlene McKenna Caroline Braden
Seamus Reilly Lawrence
Peter Owens Butcher
Emmet Lawlor McHugh Young Irwin
Bianca O'Connor Young Charlie
Paraic Breathnach Benny Feely
Patrick McCabe Peepers Egan,Schoomaster
Owen Roe Dean
Rynagh O'Grady Mrs. Coyle
Steve Blount 1st Bouncer
Keith McCoy 2nd Bouncer
Liam O'Toole 2nd Biker
Peter Halpin Joseph Hanratty
Peter Gowan Brother Barnabas
Mark Doherty Running Bear
Tony Devlin White Dove
Kieran Lally The Mohawks
Stephen McDaid The Mohawks
Pete Reddy The Mohawks
Maurice Seezer The Mohawks
Lex Shrapnel Soldier at Roadblock
Eamonn Owens Jack Timlin
Ciaran Nolan Horse Killane
Mary Ryan Mrs. Feely
Kathryn Pogson Mrs. Henderson
Alan Moloney Talking Navvie
Derek Elroy Rasta Son
Mal White Stephenson
Paul O'Toole Barman in Wards
Antonia Campbell-Hughes Stripper
Janet Moran Hooker
Andy Moore 1st Republican
Marc O'Shea 2nd Republican
Rachel Donovan Nurse
Neil Jackson Man at Disco
Dominic Cooper Squaddie at Disco
Alan Heyburn Paramedic
James Greene Gentleman
Fiona Clarke 1st Peep Show Girl
Gillian Johnson 2nd Peep Show Girl
Chris McHallem Punter
Sid Young English Patrick
Britta Smith Mrs. Clarke
Doreen Keogh Shopkeeper
Catherine Dunne Solidarity Lady
Tom Hickey Bishop
Mark Lambert Bishop's Secretary

Technical Credits
Neil Jordan Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Eddy Andres Art Director
Emma Bailey Makeup
Tom Conroy Production Designer
Stephen Daly Art Director
Darkside Special Effects
Brendan Deasy Sound/Sound Designer
Susie Figgis Casting
Team FX Special Effects
Diane Hayes Musical Direction/Supervision
Stuart Hornall Musical Direction/Supervision
François Ivernel Executive Producer
Anna Jordan Score Composer
Tony Lawson Editor
Patrick McCabe Screenwriter
Brendan McCarthy Executive Producer
Cameron Mccracken Executive Producer
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh Costumes/Costume Designer
Michael Higgins Art Director
Alan Moloney Producer
Susan Mullen Associate Producer
Andrew Munro Art Director
Patrick O'Donoghue Production Manager
Lisa DiNardo Parker Production Manager
Robert Quinn Asst. Director
Declan Quinn Cinematographer
Gerard Sava Camera Operator
Dennis Schnegg Art Director
Breda Walsh Production Manager
Mark Woods Executive Producer
Stephen Woolley Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Breakfast on Pluto
1. Start [2:32]
2. Not Himself Lately [1:56]
3. A Boy, Not a Girl [3:23]
4. City Swallowed His Mother [1:53]
5. A Father Discovered [2:26]
6. An Idea of His Conception [4:50]
7. The Need for Glamour [4:11]
8. Druid Philosophy [2:56]
9. Out on His Own [6:22]
10. Dance of Seduction [5:36]
11. Troubling Times [4:20]
12. Much Too Serious [7:15]
13. Searching the City [4:00]
14. Hop One, Hop Two [4:35]
15. A Spritz in Time [3:40]
16. Magical Man [7:02]
17. "A Girl Like You" [4:56]
18. Disaster Looming? [3:50]
19. An Explosive Evening [2:30]
20. Kitten's Statement [5:09]
21. Back to the Streets [:00]
22. Police Assistance [5:57]
23. "I Knew His Father" [4:32]
24. The Personal Touch [1:24]
25. Home [7:14]
26. Waggely, Definitely [6:15]
27. Christmas "Gift" [3:59]
28. New Family [2:21]


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Breakfast on Pluto 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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