7 October 2005 | jotix100
In cold blood
Director Bennet Miller's "Capote" is a film that shows great intelligence in the way it captured the essence of Truman Capote, a man who achieved fame and notoriety with most of the fiction he wrote. This film concentrates in the period of his life in which he got obsessed by a notorious murder case of the fifties about the murder of a family in Kansas.
Dan Futterman has written the screen play based on the book by Gerald Clarke. The film is an account about the writing of the novel "In Cold Blood" that showed how the two young men who committed the heinous crime are caught, processed and hanged for their actions.
If you haven't watched the film, perhaps you would like to stop here.
When the film opens we get a vision of a lonely house in the distance. This being the Midwest, we are given a flat expanse devoid of elevations anywhere. The camera takes us to that lonely house as a young woman comes calling for her friend that lives in there. Not getting any response, she goes in to a room upstairs where she discovers her friend has been killed. The colors are dark, as is the tone of the film.
Truman Capote, who had been connected to the New Yorker magazine, sees the article in the N.Y. Times and gets interested. This case that shocked the country, at the time, shows a promise for the writer. The next time we meet him, he is in the small town in Kansas accompanied by his good friend and steadying influence, Nell Harper Lee, a writer.
By becoming friendly with the sheriff's wife, Mr. Capote gets a privilege by having access to the two murderers. Truman is clearly deeply affected by his relationship with Perry Smith, a handsome dark man who shows a lot of intensity. By gaining their trust, Capote is able to put together his best selling book "In Cold Blood", which will revolutionize American letters in the way the two criminals are portrayed.
Truman Capote, while pursuing the completion of his book, doesn't come clean to Perry Smith. In fact, when questioned about things he has learned, Capote gives evasive answers because he is not prepared to share with his main subject things that clearly should have been clarified from the start.
Watching the brilliant take of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote on the screen, brought to mind another great actor, Meryl Streep, who like Mr. Hoffman is a chameleon in the interpretation of a character. Mr. Hoffman is perfect as the writer because he has captured every mannerism and the speech inflection of Truman Capote. Catherine Keener is perfect as Nelle, the true friend and companion. Bruce Greenwood plays Truman Capote's companion Jack Dunphy. Chris Cooper is totally wasted as Sheriff Dewey.
Adam Kimmel excellent cinematography contributes to the atmosphere the director gave the film because of the use of muted colors in what appear to be the bleak winter of the Midwest.