Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Movie Review: Capote

Truman Capote was one of the most famous writers in America, known for his flamboyant mannerisms, provocative conversations, and his tendency to fabricate stories about people he knew. He was openly gay and well known for his high-pitched lisp and flamboyant dress. He is also famous for his literary works (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and the book, In Cold Blood, which Capote called a non-fiction novel, and which is the focus of the movie Capote. In 1959, there was a 300-word article in the New York Times which described the murder of a family of four in rural Kansas. Capote became fascinated with the story and, together with Harper Lee (the author of To Kill a Mockingbird), travelled to Kansas where the murder took place and began to interview people who were associated with the family and the two men who were accused of the murders. Capote decided to write a book about the murders and their aftermath called In Cold Blood. During the time he was researching the book, he became very close to Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr), one of the murderers. Smith and his collaborator in the crime, Richard "Dick" Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), were convicted and sentencing to hanging. Capote is a remarkable movie telling this story from Capote's point of view. Capote (brilliantly played by Philip Seymour Hoffman who one a Golden Globe award for best actor) is torn between his compassion for Perry Smith and his "need" to manipulate and use Smith to write and complete his book. Capote was a genius but also very lonely and, as Honeycutt has said, '... is a man easily imitated, yet hard to pin down, a slippery devil who took one guise after another to cover up the loneliness of his personal nature and his genius. Hoffman gets it all.' He struggles with his conscience and is almost completely undone by the inner turmoil he experiences. And this is what makes the story fascinating. Truman Capote was a truly enigmatic figure and plays out the ambiguity that we all feel at times when we experience competing, equally strong desires which are not equally moral. Philip Seymour Hoffman is not the only outstanding element of this film. The script is excellent and the director (Bennett Miller) has taken his time in telling the story so the narrative never seems rushed. And the supporting actors are all excellent. Capote will haunt your thinking for days to come after you leave the cinema. My Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5) Positive Review 'Capote represents something unique in cinema.…Most eye-catching for critics and audiences in the weeks to come will be Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliant metamorphosis into the persona of the late author.' - Kirk Honeycutt/The Hollywood Reporter Negative Review 'Aside from yet another solid performance from Catherine Keener-playing a Harper Lee just preparing to publish "To Kill a Mockingbird," and here to act as Capote's unheeded moral conscience-that's the ONLY reason to see Capote.' - Ken Tucker/New York Magazine Content Warning Some violent images and brief strong language Related Links

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