Breakfast on Pluto

Movie Information

The Asheville Film Society will screen Breakfast on Pluto on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther. Hanke is the artistic director of the A.F.S.
Genre: Comedy Drama
Director: Neil Jordan
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Ruth Negga, Stephen Rea, Gavin Friday, Brendan Gleeson
Rated: R

One of the biggest delights and best surprises of the 2005 awards season was Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto. I caught a screening of it at 9 a.m. and liked it so much that I arranged to see it again as soon as possible. In fact, I liked it enough that it was my pick for best film of that year—and it still is. Before the screening, I’d never heard of the film and I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it. When I saw that it was adapted from a novel by Patrick McCabe—whose book The Butcher Boy Jordan filmed in 1997 (both times with McCabe co-writing the screenplay)—I immediately expected a bitterly funny, but grimly disturbing movie was about to unfold. (I expected this even in spite of the bright pop colors and the Rubette’s “Sugar Baby Love” playing on the opening soundtrack.) And then there was Cillian Murphy as Patrick “Kitten” Braden parading along in full drag while pushing a baby in a pram and offering to take up a lewd workman and his friends on their propositions. When this reaction silences them, Kitten opines, “Not up to it then, you innocent, shovel-wielding, horny-handed sons of the native sod?” Then, leaning in to address his infant charge, he adds “Not many people are, munchkin—not many people can take the tale of Patrick Braden, aka St. Kitten, who strutted the catwalks, face lit by a halo of flashbulbs, as ‘Ooh!’, she shrieked, ‘I told you from my best side, darlings!’” Well, this intro—which indeed starts that very tale—indicated that this could be a different sort of film for Jordan. It is and it isn’t, of course. The stories in the film have much the same concerns as his other work, but the tone is different. Breakfast on Pluto is a film that anyone who’s ever been an outsider can relate to—and if you came to adulthood in the film’s setting of the late 1960s and early 1970s, so much the better.

To read the original review go to

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Breakfast on Pluto

  1. Xanadon't

    Maybe this is a director I need to get better acquainted with, though the last two films of his I caught up with didn’t fare too well with me: In Dreams -obviously horrible- and The Crying Game -just didn’t see what all the hullabaloo is about. Don’t think I’ve seen more than one or two of his others, so perhaps I can still find something in his work, starting Tuesday.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Well, I don’t exactly agree that In Dreams is “obviously horrible.” I know that puts me in the minority, but it’s not the first time I’ve been there.

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