A movie about choosing your own identity, and then being tested on just how stubborn you are about it. Our hero, the cross-dressing, ambiguously gendered Kitten is certainly tougher about it than I might be. If being threatened to be shot by the I.R.A., beaten by cops for a week in a holding cell, firebombed at least twice and generally threatened for just being different without changing can be called tough. I'm sure some people would never allow that word to be used unless you were more muscled and manly.
Cillian Murphy is fantastic, and reads more like a woman in some scenes than the star of the Crying Game. Ironic, since he is very much unambiguously male in most of his roles. But it was important at some times in this film for you to momentarily forget his past and think that he is a she, and then correct yourself. While mostly hovering on the edge of ambiguity, there were moments when he would slide into gender certainty--whether male or female. Those moments of the film are best, when you give up your suspension of disbelief to identify with a character who is, in all likelihood, not like most of us.
Kitten floats through his landscape like a fairy-tale--the connecting tissue of the story, as well as some of the grittier truths of his life, were left out so that we see a surface reality that certainly feels like we are hovering somewhere in his own disbelief and fantasy. This ads a certain distance to the drama that, for me at least, works just fine. I'd imagine the audiences imagination is strong enough without having to witness what happens in the cars after they pick up our erstwhile hero. Jordan has been grittier in other of his films, but it's somewhat of a statement that none of the violence directed at his hero is sexual.
This was not a film about glam rock, but in some ways it captured the excited dystopian fantasy of it better than the more serious, and more ernest Velvet Goldmine, especially as we travel with a group of fantasy-dressing minor rock-stars who can't hack it when confronted when a true gender-bender comes into their midst. Despite their long hair and less-than-masculine costumes, at the end, they were still just the blokes in the band.
And mostly in the end, it's a movie about identity and acceptance, slightly couched in a movie about moving away from home and learning hard lessons of life. Ironic that the lessons that Kitten learns followed him explosively from his homeland. Some might go away to college and come back politicized, and some might move to the city and come home broken from the hard life on the streets. Of course, with Kitten here it's a little different. He went away a boy in ladies clothes, and came home a woman.Where we saw it: Live Show | We deign to rate it: 75 outta 100