When I first saw Neil Jordan‘s “Breakfast on Pluto” a few months ago, I was immediately reminded of Candide, the title character in Voltaire‘s novel. Watching the movie again this weekend at AFI Fest, I couldn’t get over Cillian Murphy‘s striking performance. Introducing the film, Jordan said that it was Murphy who convinced him to make the movie. Chatting with me after the screening, the director explained that he tested Murphy for the role long before the actor starred in “28 Days Later” and knew he was right for the lead, but waited awhile because he was worried about covering the same ground so soon in another movie. He and Murphy ultimately decided the time was right. In today’s New York Times‘ critic Stephen Holden praised Murphy’s performance:
With his wide blue eyes and curly hair, Mr. Murphy’s Patrick (the actor was most recently seen as the villain in “Red Eye”) is an androgynous beauty – poignant, trusting and gently flirtatious, but never predatory. In a year overcrowded with wonderful performances by lead actors, Mr. Murphy’s immensely appealing turn ranks among the strongest.