Capote (2005)

BENNETT MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBCanada/USA, 2005.  United Artists, Sony Pictures Classics, A-Line Pictures, Cooper’s Town Productions, Infinity Media, Eagle Vision.  Screenplay by , based on the book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 2005American Film Institute 2005Boston Film Critics Awards 2005Golden Globe Awards 2005.  Independent Spirit Awards 2005. National Board of Review Awards 2005.  New York Film Critics Awards 2005.   Toronto International Film Festival 2005Washington Film Critics Awards 2005.  

Amid the successes of his first novel Other Voices, Other Rooms and short stories (including Breakfast At Tiffany’s), Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) takes a strange turn in his career by insisting to his New Yorker editor () that he must cover the police investigation and subsequent trial of two men accused of murdering five members of a Kansas family. Taking his childhood friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) along as research assistant, herself on the eve of success with the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird looming, Capote travels to the Midwest and makes quite an impression on the locals, not to mention invoking the annoyance of the police chief (Chris Cooper) who does not desire any interference in his work. Eventually the accused murderers are caught, and upon meeting one of them (), Capote feels a deep connection with him. He decides he will write a novel instead of a magazine article, and will tell the chilling story of the murders while also portraying killers Perry Smith (Collins) and Richard Hickock () as human; as he tells Lee, he feels he and Smith are the same person who made different choices. Bennett Miller’s hard-edged direction and Hoffman’s no-nonsense performance, which brings to life Capote’s oddball personality with compelling precision (though, let’s face it, it’s also a typical trick-pony Oscar baiter) make for a satisfying experience, with Keener’s fantastic work marking her one of the cinema’s most impressive actresses. The superbly economical screenplay was written by actor Dan Futterman.

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