084 - Capote (2005)

Capote tells the biographical story of a famous author as he researches two serial killers for his new book.

Truman Capote is a true crime writer famous for his short stories often published in newspapers. Upon reading an article from The New York Times he becomes fascinated with a mass murder in Kansas.

He travels to Kansas with his friend Harper Lee (writer of To Kill A Mockingbird) where he meets the community to gain an understanding of how they function. Finally, he meets the killers and his book takes a dramatic turn.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Truman Capote is without a doubt one of the tragedy cases of the 20th Century. While his flamboyant style, high-pitched voice and open homosexuality made him well known, it was his critically acclaimed writing that rightly gave him his place amongst the best authors of the time. Ultimately, though, with fame comes high pressure and it was this that led to his early death from liver cancer aged 59. More information on Truman Capote can be found on the Wikipedia article.

Capote only tells the tale of a small part of this man's life but beautifully encapsulates everything that he has become reknowned for. Initially, if you know nothing about the man, Philip Seymour Hoffman's interpretation of the protagonist will infuriate you with his difficult-to-understand speaking style. Of course though, it is one of the best parts of Hoffman's acting.

Hoffman has a way of managing to portraying Capote's pompous attitude and extrovert lifestyle through the varying party scenes while allowing himself to display an inner wisdom ("I can recall 97% of interviews from memory"). He also shows a great deal of variance in his acting as he shows the first signs of Capote's demise during the latter part of the film. He rightly received the Oscar for "Best Actor" in 2005.

Supporting Hoffman in the most part is Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith, one of the condemned murderers. Collins is able to show how Perry moves from being seen as a sadistic murderer into a human being who the audience is able to empathise with. This view changes various times throughout the film and Collins is able to keep pace with this in his excellent acting.

The soundtrack is beautifully restrained enabling the film to offer a reflection period where the audience is able to take sides with either the murderers or the moral high ground. When it does reach full pace, the piano solo gives the film a very humble feel.

Overall, a superb film. If you haven't already, this will make you want to read In Cold Blood, if only to see into the mind of a great, but tragic, man.