Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto (2005) A Really Different Look at The Troubles

Taking into consideration that the definition of war is  “armed conflict between hostile parties, nations or countries” it is fair to include Breakfast on Pluto or any other movie dealing either with The Troubles, the IRA, Terrorism and similar things in a blog dedicated to war movies.

A while back I reviewed Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins, and an other outstanding movie on the Irish Civil war and war of Independence, The Wind that Shakes the Barley (also starring the stunning Cillian Murphy), and I did also review Bloody Sunday. Each of these movies tells about another era in this long-lasting conflict between Ireland and the UK.

Breakfast on Pluto is not only a highly original variation on the theme of The Troubles, Northern Ireland and the IRA but also one actors tour de force.

Patrick Kitten Braiden (Cillian Murphy) is not exactly like other boys. Left as a baby by his single mother on the doorsteps of a church, he is given to a foster family who can’t handle him. Already the very young Patrick is not interested in boy’s things or clothes. He likes to dress like a girl, uses make-up and lives in a fantasy world where he is either a famous film star or meets his mother who lives a glamorous life in London.

Small-minded Irish small town life of the 70s isn’t an ideal place for a young man with gender issues. Despite being an outsider, his charming likable nature provides him with friends, still it is obvious he doesn’t want to stay in Ireland. He wants to go to London and find his mother.

Some of the group of friends he hangs out with are politically active and join the IRA. Kitten isn’t exactly interested in politics, at least not conscioulsy, but he wants change. He wants to express himself freely and be accepted the way he is.

After a huge fight with his foster family he leaves the small town and travels around. He is picked up by some Irish Glitter Rock Band and tours with them in their bus through Northern Ireland. But wherever he goes, people seem to be involved with the IRA  and through his naivety he gets himself into a lot of trouble and finally departs to London.

He lives under the illusion that once in London he will magically bump into his mother.

Regarding the IRA, things haven’t changed in London, Kitten still seems to be always somehow at the heart of things. The big difference however is that this time, he doesn’t see the angry hostile presence of British soldiers but the mayhem created by a terrorist attack. Being the only Irish present in the club that is blown up, he is arrested.

The adventures of cross-dressing Kitten, his tribulations and struggles to find his mother are told in a charming, funny and quirky way. Breakfast on Pluto manages to tell the story of The Troubles seen from a completely different angle. Cillian Murphy as the unworldly, gentle Kitten is really astonishing. To a certain extent Kitten reminded me of Birdy. Like Birdy the movie Breakfast on Pluto is also a really touching tale of friendship and a call for tolerance.

Maybe not your average war movie, but well worth watching. I really enjoyed it. The music is also very well chosen.

I owe thanks to Novroz from Polychrome Interest who introduced me to this movie. If you are interested in Cillian Murphy’s other movies, go visit her website. She is a true “Cillianiac”.


11 thoughts on “Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto (2005) A Really Different Look at The Troubles

  1. Novroz says:

    A stunning review 🙂 …thank you for watching it.I want more people to watch this movie.

    I like reading it as it is seen from different perspective. I don’t know if you have read my review or not (I know I have mentioned the movie all over my blog post). He was brilliant in this movie, right?

    Thank you for mentioning my blog 🙂

    • Novroz says:

      What I like the most about Kitten is her easy take on the war…she just doesn’t want to make such a big deal of all those serious serious serious matters.

      • Yes, exactly, serious, serious, serious… Something else I liked about this movie is how colorful it is. When you think of Northern Ireland you don’t exactly think of colors, especially not during the 70s.

      • Novroz says:

        I agree…the movie was so colorful and the music is awesome.
        I hate to admit that Cillian…well Kitten…has more colorful and beautiful clothes than I am

      • I do occasionally have phases like Kitten but not at work. And it’s also another time. The fashion of the 70s was much more colorful than later decades, I think.

    • Thanks Novroz, yes I have read your review but that’s quite a while back. Maybe I should have linked to it but I thought the other post was almost better as it gives an impression of how versatile Cillian Murphy is. I think you can watch it in many different ways.

  2. […] of All About War Movies reviewed has written a great review on this […]

  3. tuulenhaiven says:

    I’ve had this movie on my list forEVER, but have never truly felt inspired to watch it. That’s changed – thanks for this good review. I’ll bump it toward the top. 🙂

    • I hope you will like it. Before I watched it I thought it was just a simple tale of a cross-dressing guy but realized that it’s really a different look at Northern Irealnd and The Troubles.

  4. Ronan says:

    I was looking for a Cillian-related name for Novia that wasn’t ‘stalker 😉 Thanks, ‘Cillianiac’ will do nicely. I am startled that Breakfast on Pluto can be classified a ‘War movie’, this is the first time I have ever got beyond the poster (possibly for superficial reasons) as it just didn’t look like my cup of tea at all but reading your review it sounds like an original take on the Troubles. I’m sure you’ve heard of In The Name Of The Father, with Daniel Day Lewis, but just in case you haven’t, check it out. Talk about ‘one actor’s tour de force’. Nice review man 🙂

    • Thanks Ronan. I like to stretch genres a bit but since I do include Troubles related movies here I thought it was justified to include it. To be honest I was surprised to see that it dealt with The Trouble at all. That had totally slipped my attention so far. I think I’ve seen the movie with Daniel-Day Lewis but would need to re-watch it. It’s great, he’s great, I agree.

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