Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Allie Mickelson
Truman capote, american novelist, journalist, short-story writer and playwright, writes in In Cold Blood: “Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans had ever heard of Holcomb, Kansas'drama in the shape of exceptional happenings had never stopped there'” And until Capote the movie and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Best Actor Oscar happened, few except those who’d read the book would know what he’s talking about.
Bennett Miller’s biopic chronicles a period of about six years in Capote’s life while he researched and wrote his non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood (1966) ' an account of a real-life crime in which an entire family in Kansas is murdered by two young sociopath drifters.
In the film, Capote’s probe begins from a kind of visceral response to this mindless violence and intellectual curiosity about a heinous act and macabre images (crime-scene photos). Which rattle a sleepy little town in America’s heartland and its simple down-to-earth folks, and shake people out of complacent slumber in far-off New York as well. Capote also shows the writer becoming increasingly involved and determined to “collect material” for his own book. In the process, he forges (manipulates') a close relationship with one of the killers on death row, Perry Smith, whom he visits in jail regularly and whose state execution he witnesses ' a “terrible” experience the author would “never get over”. Something that would, literally figuratively, alter his life and work forever but also ironically make In Cold Blood his most acclaimed work.
Capote is neither particularly brilliant cinematically nor has the most universal appeal thematically. But it’s Hollywood filmmaking at its competent best. Tight, gripping screenplay. Meticulous period detail of the 1950s and 60s. Solid filmcraft. And remarkable artistes. Like Catherine Keener, who with superb understated grace, plays Capote’s childhood pal Harper Lee, writer of To Kill A Mocking Bird. Or the rest of the cast who support Hoffman’s award-winning portrayal of the eccentric geeky and complex literary figure ' his Best Actor Oscar truly the most well deserved, perhaps in many years of recent past.