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Capote

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Truman Capote elegantly described the brutal murder of a family in the midwest through his famous book In Cold Blood.  The book birthed a genre: the "nonfiction novel" by means of poetic license: making a very cold, dark story something captivating enough to win the affinity of the public, and that's exactly what Bennett Miller does with his movie Capote.

Truman Capote was no hero.  He was a sexually deviant little man from the south who moved to New York and found fame and fortune through the success of Breakfast at Tiffany's and jumped at the opportunity to write a novel around a family's murder in the midwest, as the story was unfolding.

What the film shows is how Truman befriended the small town's local police, family friends, and murderers, through his cunning charm (probably making up these stories about Humphrey Bogart) and the assistance of fellow writer and childhood friend Harper Lee, who herself was in the midst of completing the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird

Like In Cold Blood, the film is elegant and poetic but not pretty.  The scenes from the Kansas countryside are cold and desolate, the characters are almost colorless as the world at that time was.  Scenes in Spain with Capote's boyfriend are not color-corrected to artificial blue waters, and the main cast isn't a bunch of pretty Hollywood A-list celebrities.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is truly one of the greatest actors working right now and to transform this monster 5'10" actor into the tiny ~5'3" effeminate, quiet, soft-spoken character of Truman Capote is an excellent achievement.  His portrayal was very straight-up and direct, and the film chose to show the more public side of Capote, how he showed himself to the press, fans, and townspeople of Holcomb, Kansas.

The film is deceptively not a biography of Truman Capote, and merely focuses on the time in his life where he wrote his most important novel, birthed a genre, and how his acts and involvement were so intense that he never completed another novel since.  What's missing is some of the more saucy details of his notorious sex life and explicit insight into the core of his being.  So, if anything, the film might be misnamed, but it remains a fantastic film.
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 October 2005 03:30  


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