Monday, May 7, 2007
Breakfast on Pluto
Irish Rebellion / Glamour / Pregnancy / Down Syndrome / Adoption are interesting plot keywords of interesting movie Breakfast on Pluto. How deep is the meaning of movie title if all you know about movie are just plot keywords? That is all i new and i had to see it...
Sometimes a scene can change completely the way you are responding to a film, for better or worse. I wasn't enjoying Neil Jordan's latest film much until the effeminate hero, played by Cillian Murphy, threw a cache of IRA guns into a lake as part of his campaign - actually his life's work - to not be "serious".
At that point, the character of Patrick "Kitten" Braden (Murphy) became more than a remarkably pretty but irritating Irish transvestite growing up in an uncomprehending and unbending Ireland of the 1970s; he became heroic instead of just quixotic, tempestuous and passive.
That's the essential challenge of the movie - Patrick's passivity. Jordan is making a film about a modern Candide, someone who retains his innocence and optimism in the worst of all possible worlds. But that restricts the character's ability to act, rather than simply act up. Terrible things happen to Patrick in the film's 129 minutes. His response varies from smiling and blowing a kiss at his attackers, to putting his arms round their necks, to running away.
That's why throwing the guns in the lake struck me as a turning point - he does it without running away, knowing that it will have dire consequences. The two local IRA hoods know it was him; indeed, he admits it when they come to collect the weapons from the caravan in which he's living. As they force him to his knees and put a gun to his head, he cries out: "Kill me, I've got nothing to live for anyway."
Even at this point, he's playing one of the old movie heroines on whom he models himself - a little Bette, a little Ingrid, even though he'd rather be Mitzi Gaynor. I had often felt like slapping him, but this was where the character - and the movie - started to take hold. It will be too late for some viewers, but patience has its rewards. The longer the film went, the more I liked it. Not all of it works, but it has the genuinely epic emotions and sense of artistic adventure that tell us Neil Jordan is serious, even if Kitten is not.
There are obvious surface connections with The Crying Game, which shared the theme of a tranny in the Troubles, but Jordan sees it as much more directly related to The Butcher Boy, his earlier film based on another novel by McCabe. Both are concerned with the consequences of a troubled childhood; both are somewhat hallucinatory; both are comical tragedies with a debt to Irish writers such as Sean O'Casey, whose influence Jordan has acknowledged. He describes this new film as Tom Jones meets Candide in the 1970s. It has a somewhat mannered construction, divided into 36 chapters, each titled like an 18th-century novel, which adds to the sense of deliberate artifice.