Ascendant Queen 

Pluto's Kitten: Even Hotter than Hedwig

Breakfast on Pluto is a long but attractive film, starring the fabulous cheekbones of Cillian Murphy. While Murphy's cheekbones (and the rest of him) have appeared as those of a terrorist (Red Eye) and of a supervillain (Batman Begins), Pluto is by far the brightest vehicle for Murphy's talents—as Patrick "Kitten" Brady, Murphy cross-dresses as the disarmingly beautiful and magnetic transvestite protagonist. Set in a tumultuous Ireland during the '60s and '70s, Kitten is an orphan literally left on the doorstep of the local priest (Liam Neeson); as he grows up, his inclinations become more cemented, and he gradually, and for all intents and purposes, becomes a she.

Kitten's life takes circuitously adventurous turns, much as in fictional biographies like Forrest Gump or Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Kitten's led into a relationship with a rockabilly singer, to London, to a gig as a cabaret performer, a stint as a hustler, and even ends up in a Womble costume. All of this takes place before a backdrop of violence caused by Ireland's political struggles, and the IRA winds itself in and out of Kitten's life, always attended by tragedy. Despite this, Kitten's dream world is consumed with finding her mother, and everything else she considers too "serious."

Murphy does a superb job of making Kitten not only likeable, but also enviable, with her airy, preposterously positive attitude—although she frequently comes out the victim in life, it's as though the concept hadn't even occurred to her. Murphy's complete mastery of this incredibly complex character—along with the general eye candy of setting and wardrobes—is the reason to see Pluto. The political dramas are muddled and confusing, and Murphy's character tends to outshine fine folks like Stephen Rea and new-one-to-watch Ruth Negga. Still, though it clocks in at almost two and a half hours, Kitten's style and wit could have propelled it for another hour with nary a complaint from me.

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