Release Year: 2005
Director: Bennett Miller
Writers: Dan Futterman (screenplay), Gerald Clarke (based on his biography Capote)
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Clifton Collins, Jr., Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Mark Pellegrino, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban
Rating: Won 1 Oscar: Best Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Nominated for 4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener), Best Adapted Screenplay. Won 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor – Drama (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
In 1959, writer Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) learns of the brutal murder of a farmer and his family in rural Kansas. While researching for In Cold Blood, a true-crime novel about the killings, Capote forms a relationship with one of the murderer, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who is on death row.
There is something fascinated about the In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Not just the books itself (which is excellent, we highly recommend it), or about the murder case it describes, but about the writing of the book and the effect it has on its author. Capote was a quite character and a celebrated writer of southern gothic fiction who broke new ground with his fictional account of a factual incident, the first true crime novel, but he would never finish another book although he lived another 25 years after its publication. This stylish and well-crafted account is believe it or not the directorial début of Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher, 2014). Miller does have the benefit of a great script by actor/writer/producer Dan Futterman (The Birdcage, 1996) – another début – and last but not least, a great cast headed by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War, 2007). Hoffman as Capote is perhaps an odd choice given the difference in appearance between him and his subject, but Hoffman was a mater and gives a layered and complex performance that dominates the film, so much so that everything else fades around him. Given how relatively few Hoffman performances we are left with, there’s no need to complain that he takes over the film, but it would perhaps be a better film if the supporting character had been given more room to breathe. Miller has been consistent in his output but there is a coldness to his film that will not appeal to everyone. Still Capote is well worth watching for Hoffman’s performance. Recommended.
Sandra Bullock was considered for the part of Harper Lee that eventually went to Catherine Keener. Incidentally, she would play Harper Lee in film Infamous (2006), which tells the same story.
Picture Copyright: Nordisk Film