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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Movie Reviews: Capote



In 1959, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a popular writer for The New Yorker, learns about the horrific and senseless murder of a family of four in Halcomb, Kansas. Inspired by the story material, Capote and his partner, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), travel to the town to research for an article. However, as Capote digs deeper into the story, he is inspired to expand the project into what would be his greatest work, In Cold Blood. To that end, he arranges extensive interviews with the prisoners, especially with Perry Smith, a quiet and articulate man with a troubled history. As he works on his book, Capote feels some compassion for Perry, which in part prompts him to help the prisoners to some degree. However, that feeling deeply conflicts with his need for closure for his book, which only an execution can provide. That conflict and the mixed motives for both interviewer and subject make for a troubling experience that would produce a literary account that would redefine modern non-fiction.


Capote is a well thought out and finely paced work. Philip Seymour Hoffman is totally deserving of his Oscar for his work in this piece. He's nearly unrecognizable throughout. He so fully captures the spirit of Truman Capote that you almost feel as if you watching a real life account of the events unfold. Hoffman expertly brings Capote's ego, manipulative moments, sensitivity and inner conflict to the screen in a truly mesmerizing way. The supporting cast is equally strong with Catherine Keener and Chris Cooper giving their usual excellent performances. A small warning to those ADD movie watchers, this movie is a slow narrative driven piece, so if you don't feel up for listening to a ton of dialogue then pick up something else.


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