Stars: ** 1/2
Rating: R for language and sexuality
Run Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes
Cillian Murphy pulls off his third powerhouse performance of the year (think “Red Eye” and “Batman Begins”) as a conflicted cross-dresser who just wants to be loved.
Patrick “Kitten” Braden (Murphy) is a misunderstood adopted child with a burning desire to find his real mother. His adventures take him on the road to self-discovery as a gun-toting IRA heavy, a groupie with a rockabilly bar band and perpetually in his head as he fantasizes about his beginnings as a coveted love child.
Along for Kitten’s chaotic ride is mysterious man-of-the-cloth Father Bernard (Liam Neeson) who figures prominently in Kitten’s make-believe past along with the beautiful and elusive blonde parish housekeeper Eily Bergin (Eva Birthistle).
Murphy is the glue that holds this disjointed fantasy together, his androgynous glamour and wink-and-a-nudge virtue setting the off-kilter proceedings back on track when writer/director Neil Jordan’s madcap musings threaten to cross over into the absurd.
Soundtrack is a kicky playlist of dizzy pop; the perfect complement to the abstract weirdness onscreen. Frothy but watchable, painful but droll, “Pluto” is a fizzy tonic amidst the stiller holiday fare.