movie night – Breakfast on Pluto

I’ve been meaning to watch this movie for years, ever since someone mentioned that there’s a Van song in it. That’s all I knew about it – there was a Van song. No one had to twist my arm to watch this one, but it’s been sitting around in my collection for awhile now. Time to dust if off and put it in.

I’m always good for something different. Something from the director of The Crying Game fits the bill nicely.That’s the only Neil Jordan movie I’ve seen, for no other reason than I’ve just never gotten around to checking his other stuff out. So kill two birds with one stone. My second Jordan movie and a Van song.

It’s fanciful and it’s dark. An interesting combination, which worked most of the time. It’s set near the border of Northern Island during the 60s, so there’s a lot of background violence, but our hero, Patrick Braden, a versatile young man, has his own life to live, and he’s just looking for love…in some cases, in the wrong places. Among his many talents is writing stories. And that’s how Jordan tells the movie, in a series of chapters, with the one constant in each being his search for his mother, who abandoned him, leaving him in a basket next to the milk bottles on the local priest’s doorstep when he was a baby.

A local tells Patrick that his mother looks like Mitzi Gaynor, and she was off to London “to be swallowed up” that morning she left. The idea of Mitzi Gaynor takes hold, which is just the catalyst he needs to get in touch with his feminine side, mostly seeing what it’s like to be a girl in girl’s clothes, putting on makeup, even getting a transfer into home economics, where it turns out he’s a pretty good sewer. By the time school’s finished, he’s ready to get out of town, go find mom.

The only thing he takes with him is his optimism – this guy has good karma. And a new name — Kitten. Kitten gets into a lot of scrapes on the way, as you might, being a transvestite prostitute, with a lot of blowing up going on in the background to add to the mix. But her innocence and chronic case of “life is what you make of it”approach gets her from one spot to another; mind you, most times it’s being tossed from the frying pan into the fire, but she’s just glad that at least she’s landed somewhere. Our hero is a pretty funny character, and it’s a nice job by Cillian Murphy.

An Indie movie, it was a cast of unknowns to me, save for Liam Neeson as the priest and Stephen Rea as a magician who befriends Kitten along the way. All in all, it’s a good story, not big on subtlety, but a good story well told. I would think Jordan would have been happy with this one. He’s batting two for two with me.

Oh, and the scene with the Van song? It’s near the end; Kitten is dressed to the nines, walking down the street, clicking clacking of the high heel shoes, dressed for the job, and on comes Madame George, which has long been thought of by some reviewers as a song about a transvestite. I wonder which came first? I suspect the myth. Whatever; I can get along with anyone who decides to put Madame George in their movie. Bring on the popcorn.

shannon’s best guess: 3.55

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