In the 1970s, a young trans woman, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because her gender identity is beyond the town's understanding.
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Neil Jordan's historical biopic of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, the man who led a guerrilla war against the UK, helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free State, and led the National Army during the Irish Civil War.
A young transwoman, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age in the 1970s. She leaves her Irish town, in part to look for her mother and in part because her transgender nature is beyond the town's understanding. She's taken in by a rock band, falls for the lead singer, has brushes with the IRA, is arrested by the London police, works in a peep show, and poses as a survey researcher for the phone company. Throughout, her nationality and her nature put her at great risk. In her search for her mother, she makes surprising discoveries of friendship and family. But, will she survive?Written by
Neil Jordan returns to his best material: gender bending and the IRA
This spellbinding, tightly written, tightly wound, full speed ahead film is Neil Jordan's best work by far since his 1992 hit, "The Crying Game." And, interestingly, in this new film, Jordan returns to exactly the same intertwined themes that marked "Crying Game": the armed struggle of Northern Irish Catholics against the British Crown and gender bending.
Unlike the last minute revelations in "Crying Game," however, here the protagonist's transsexuality is placed front and center from the getgo. Cillian Murphy gives a bravura performance as Patrick "Kitten" Braden, in a story set in the 60s and 70s. Murphy oozes sensual vitality and is a world class flirt, but he's also genuinely kind and compassionate toward everybody.
The story is divided into 35 brief, fast paced "chapters" following Kitten's life over several years, first in a village near Belfast, later in London. The musical score, which is extraordinarily good, is an eclectic mix of everything from 40s pop tunes to Harry Nilsson and Van Morrison. Good supporting turns are provided by Liam Neeson, Ruth Negga, Stephen Rea, Gavin Friday and Brendan Gleeson. My top rated narrative drama of 2005: grade 10/10 A.
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