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2 Ratings: 4.5
A movie directed by Bennett Miller

Bennett Miller's CAPOTE is a finely crafted biopic that recounts a historic chapter in American history and, in the process, captures the unraveling of a truly gifted mind. Starring an extraordinary Philip Seymour Hoffman as the legendary Truman Capote, … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Bennett Miller
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Capote


  • Apr 11, 2006
  • by
Pros: Hoffman, Capote, True Crime

Cons: Disturbing subject matter

The Bottom Line: Bullseye, powerful biography. Superb on every level.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

There are movies that make people forget for a few hours their troubles that are meaningless entertainment, forgotten just as soon as viewed. Then there are films aimed a little higher, to entertain certainly but also to tell a story or to illuminate a period of time or subject. Capote falls squarely into the second category, technically as a biography.

Overall, the film is based on the true story of the senseless murders of the Kansas Clutter Family and the origins of the new book form "true crime" In Cold Blood.

Americans in general are hypnotized by crime, the more gruesome the better. From the outlaw heroes of the wild west through the OJ trial, and up to the fascination of television programs such as CSI, we are mesmerized by murder. This fascination was not lost on iconic author Truman Capote. His capitilization on writing a new art form which later became known as "True Crime genre" was a stroke of genius.

This film is captured with beautiful sweeping prarie scenes, lingering shadows and excellent attention to detail. Even though the film is in color, it feels as if it is in black and white which add to the grittiness of the story. The gloomy shadows and cold landscape are perfect for the telling of this story. The clothes, hair, diction, and late 1950's attitudes are captured perfectly to the last detail.

The films explores themes of what drove Capote to choose this subject matter? What was his motive? Was it ruthlessness for fame? identification with the murderers? or was he looking to find himself? By going on that journey, Capote realizes he is trapped in the brutality of the murders. Perhaps he used the murders as a metaphore to illuminate 1950's American values?

The film is permeated with complexities of human nature. The sadness of mankinds cruelties and shortcomings is another dominate theme. As Capote delves deeper into the psyches of the murderers, he forms an odd friendship with one of the murderers. While he identifies with him as a lost soul and an outsider, he also realizes that he can't complete his book until the death of his subject.

In Cold Blood is the result of the collision between two American worlds, one of privelage, excess and celebrity and the other of poverty and misery. Caopte was able to capture our fascination with both celebrity and murder and this film captures this period of his life.

The DVD clocks in at 114 minutes but feels longer due to the unhurried editing. Some might call the pacing slow, but I prefer deliberate. Directed by Bennett Miller
(untested director with only one major film under his belt -The Cruise).

Phillip Hoffman is excellent as Capote, and Catherine Keener plays a strong and sympathetic Harper Lee.

A must see for any devotee of Southern Gothic or true crime. I do not recommend for children of any age as this film deals with dark themes.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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