Capote Movie Review

Capote Movie Review
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Mark Pellegrino, Amy Ryan
Director: Bennett Miller
Screenplay: Dan Futterman
Genre: Drama/Biography
Rated: M infrequent coarse language, moderate violence
Running Time: 114 Minutes

In November, 1959, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's and a favourite figure in what is soon to be known as the Jet Set, reads an article on a back page of the New York Times. It tells of the murders of four members of a well-known farm family-the Clutters-in Holcomb, Kansas. Similar stories appear in newspapers almost every day, but something about this one catches Capote's eye. It presents an opportunity, he believes, to test his long-held theory that, in the hands of the right writer, non-fiction can be compelling as fiction. What impact have the murders had on that tiny town on the wind-swept plains? With that as his subject-for his purpose, it does not matter if the murderers are never caught-he convinces The New Yorker magazine to give him an assignment and he sets out for Kansas.

My Verdict:
Having already achieved success has a writer of fiction novels; American Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) stumbles upon an article about the killing of an entire family - The Clutters - in Kansas and convinces his editor that it is this event that he wants to write about in his next novel. It will become a non-fiction novel that Capote and his editor declare will change the way people perceive the art of writing.

Capote sets out for Kansas with his pal, writer Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) as his research assistant and slowly pieces together a story about the Clutters, the police involvement, and the impact this has on the town of Holcomb where the murders took place. Wanting to totally immerse himself in the story, Capote meets the two alleged offenders of the crime, befriending one especially, Perry Smith. It is Capote's relationship with Smith, which borders on obsessional, and the writing of the book over the course of a few years in the early 1960's that the movie 'Capote' covers.

As Truman Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman totally becomes the man, depicting the idiosyncrasies, the effeminate voice, the almost maniacal person that Capote was. Hoffman has often been lauded for his roles but never totally acknowledged for his outstanding ability to create a character into a believable being and with 'Capote' he may finally get the kudos he deserves as this is an astonishing performance. It's hard to imagine anyone else could have even equalled a performance like Hoffman's.

Capote is portrayed as a liar, who manipulates a situation for his own purposes with a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth ability that is so, so hard not to fall for but also a person who is a brilliant but troubled soul and it is Hoffman who captures this so well.

The mood of 'Capote' is often gloomy yet not slow as we watch the demise of Capote from a popular storyteller to a distressed man who never recovers from his involvement with Perry Smith and the killing of the Clutter family.

Strong support is provided by Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper as Alvin Dewey, head of the Holcomb Bureau of Investigation into the Clutter case and from Clifton Collins Jr. as Perry Smith.

With attention to detail rife and an evenly paced atmosphere of total class, 'Capote' is a story that begged to be told, and this one is a winner.

Rating : ****

Christina Bruce