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  • aharmas9 October 2005
    Every action has a reaction, and watching "Capote", we can't help but wonder how it ever got made. "Capote" is entrancing, dark, depressing, and quite satisfying. It benefits from Hoffman's perfect performance. He embodies the physical and psychological make up of a man who was the toast of the nation before and after the publication of its classic novel, "In Cold Blood". As a human being, he appeared to be an intelligent, fascinating, and manipulative creature. He could have gotten away with almost anything. Then he found the two criminals behind one of the most heinous crimes of the century and might have gotten to the realization he could also be trapped by their own dark existences.

    It is difficult to ascertain what happened to Capote after he developed a relationship with Smith. He grows attracted to the actions and revelations behind this killer, and we never really know what is exactly going on. There are displays of guilt and detachment at different parts in the film. What we do see is that something really affected the man, and it changed his life for good.

    The film moves slowly but never loses its audience. Along with Hoffman, a remarkable supporting cast keeps us interests going, and enough is presented to make us want to know more. That will probably be the film's only flaw. It fails to deliver everything it promises. It is a big satisfying tease, but after all, we are left with an endless number of questions. Keener is wonderful as Capote's supporting friend, and in his lover's role, Bruce Greenwood intrigues us as well, with the dubious character that never gives enough information to explain his attraction to a total opposite.

    "Capote" is a really good film and should be admire for it achieves. For those who want to explore more in depth what lies behind the protagonists of the movie, there are several books that will give you a more detailed background on their nature. The truth, will however, remain, a big mystery.
  • The easiest role for an actor to play is a historical figure - we have no idea how Julius Caesar really sounded, how he moved his body, punctuated his speech, bit his lip, walked into a room, held his cigarette. The hardest role is the living, or recently deceased, celebrity whom we watched, heard, studied, mimicked and thought we understood. JFK, Martin Luther King, Ray Charles, and, above all, the inventor of self referential celebrity, Truman Capote (with apology to Andy Warhol and, of course, Noel Coward)..

    After exploding to meteoric fame with his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, Capote became the New York café society's darling, heir to Coward's gay-man-child-bon-vivant. He drank and held court with the best of New York, which just also happened to be the nexus of television in the early 60s. Before long Capote was the quintessential modern celebrity, famous for being famous. And he did it all before our eyes.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman does not so much play Capote as become him. And not just in mannerism, no mean feat, but in personality, because we are convinced that Hoffman feels what Capote felt, cries over the lies, accepts his moral failings. For a short story writer-raconteur from New Orleans, Capote found himself at the center of a nationally enthralling multiple homicide, facing the ultimate journalist's Faustian dilemma: if he perpetrates a lie for the sake of exposing the truth, is he ever worthy of redemption? Capote, in the end, concluded that he wasn't; he never wrote another book. He descended into drunkenness and died a lonely soul. This is not the stuff of Holly Golightly.

    I saw this picture at the Toronto Film Festival with Hoffman, Catherine Keener and director Bennett Miller in attendance. Though they had seen it many many times before, it was obvious even they were moved by it and by our reaction. As we stood and applauded them, we turned to one another, glowing in the realization that we had witnessed an amazing performance.

    We knew Truman Capote. We watched him live on television. Truman Capote was (we imagined) our friend. Mr. Hoffman, you are Truman Capote.
  • Like the non-fiction novel and the Richard Brooks film that was made from it, "In Cold Blood," "Capote" focuses on and sympathizes with two killers at the expense of the four murdered members of the Clutter family. Once the viewer gets beyond this sticking point, however, all three works are outstanding, unforgettable experiences. Unlike the book and the original movie, "Capote" does explore the contradictory feelings that author Truman Capote wrestles with as he researches and writes "In Cold Blood." His feelings for Perry Smith, the more "sensitive" of the two killers, are particularly problematic as Capote becomes emotionally close to Smith and helps the men with legal aide that postpones the executions, while at the same time Capote cannot finish his book until Smith and Hickcock are hanged. Praise for Philip Seymour Hoffman's uncanny performance as Truman Capote cannot be overstated and, come awards time, if he does not collect enough accolades to fill his mantel, indictments for film critics and Academy voters would be in order. Hoffman not only captures the mannerisms and voice of Capote, he inhabits the man's soul and expresses his feelings and emotions without histrionics or the type of caricature that mimics often have made of the notoriously fey writer in the past.

    Fortunately, Hoffman's performance is only the jewel in a gilded crown of fine writing, excellent direction, and solid supporting performances. "Capote" will send viewers back to their bookshelves to re-read the book and to their video libraries to re-view the 1967 film. Considering the time that Capote spent with the two convicted murderers, questions arise as to why the Richard Brooks film did not have Truman Capote as a character, but rather presented a bland, nameless investigative writer, who wanders through the proceedings without much purpose. The film is so good and so intriguing that questions such as that, and what happened to the writer that Capote lived with? and did Harper Lee write anything beyond "To Kill a Mockingbird?" and did Capote's presence at the execution lead to his alcoholism, his lack of further writing, and eventually his death, and other questions will send viewers to Google as soon as they get home. "Capote" is an outstanding film and possibly the first of the year to be assured of a place on the "10 Best" lists for 2005.
  • Hitchcoc23 April 2007
    I saw Truman Capote dozens of times; he was a staple of the talk show circuit. One of the greatest TV moments was when he called Wilbur Mills a racist in the most subtle way that the Georgia governor took about half a minute to realize what had happened. This man was a firebrand. He never backed down from anything, despite his effeminate ways and small stature. Unfortunately, he word his celebrity on his sleeve and was often overly harsh and full of himself. This is a great movie. The subtle methods he uses to draw out the story from the murderer shows that he would do anything to get a story, even lie to a person with whom he had begun to fall in love. He pictures himself as compassionate at times, but he is often unwilling to go that final mile. It's surprising he was in attendance at the hangings, the events that probably contributed to his death. What a complex man. His canon of American literature is small but he was a master stylist and commentator. See this movie for Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance. It is one of the greatest in cinematic history. We remember Capote. He is Capote!
  • ......................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman was the kind of actor who, because of his physical appearance and demeanor, rarely was given the opportunity to take on a title role. Here, at last, was a stand out exception to that rule! In Capote, Hoffman was able to show us his true artistic ability. The Result: A well- deserved Oscar as best actor.

    It is quite a veritable shame that we will never again be able to see him in any new portrayals! CAPOTE, of course, is a true story, on this occasion, set in the 60's, Truman Capote, an author and human being who was truly extremely unique and most out of the ordinary, albeit, at times, highly conflicted …Characteristics that Hoffman very clearly transmits to us, as viewers, in this truly outstanding biopic!

    (8 Stars)...ENJOY!/DISFRUTELA!

    Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!.....KissEnglishPasto@Yahoo.com
  • ilene2 October 2005
    Brilliant portrayals are chilling. Philip Seymour Hoffman's invocation of the essence of Truman Capote is mesmerizing. I suspect that most of the readers on websites such as these may not have stored memories of Capote in the 60's. An unlikely media darling, I vividly recall his flaunting gay affectations and cosmopolitan barbs. Hoffman's detailed and incisive performance implores, "And the Oscar goes to........"

    Beyond his performance is a riveting and eerie story directed with flawless craft and impressive restraint. It is a film that left me sitting and discussing its nuances and its depth, until the theater's lights flickered to oust me. The film surrounds the time when Capote wrote "In Cold Blood," a book nearly everyone read in the late 60's, its title seeming obvious. This latest movie inserts Capote into the original crimes that inspired "In Cold Blood" and challenges us to revisit that title.
  • madbeast11 September 2005
    This moving film lives and breathes on the powerful shoulders of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's stunning performance in the title role. Hoffman captures all of the unique physical characteristics that made Capote such a familiar public figure in his lifetime and invests them with a humanity that is almost unbearably poignant. The film focuses on Capote's research on the book "In Cold Blood" and the personal journey that his relationship and identification with killer Perry Smith became (Capote says at one point that it was like they grew up in the same house, and he went out the front door while Perry went out the back), a compelling and complicated relationship that this uncompromising film presents in moving detail. But what truly makes it a unique work of art is the brilliant work of Hoffman - always an interesting actor - whose performance as Truman Capote should elevate him to the pantheon of film giants.
  • Beautifully told, masterfully performed, harrowing, amusing, cruel, moving. A sensational achievement. I sat there disturbed and transfixed. Witnessing the impossible. Truman Capote with the mask, without the mask. The same man, different men, all men, no man. The creature at work, thinking of work, planning his work, working his work, wheeling an dealing. Living his life, life as work, work as life. An ego bigger than his talent and all talent and no ego. Feeling without feeling. Cunning, innocent, blasphemous, a child, a monumental son of a bitch. Philip Seymour Hoffman surprising us again. Charles Laughton I thought. What a thought! Charles Laughton 2005. That kind of talent that kind of boldness and brains. Everything and everyone in "Capote" seem to be. To be totally. I've never seen a photograph of Harper Lee but I imagine her just like Catherine Keener. The film is a miracle of sorts. I can't wait to see it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What PSH has pulled off here simply cannot be overpraised. First he accomplishes a perfect imitation- the voice, the gestures, the walk. Then, within this caricature, he delivers a startlingly complex and subtle performance. First he's the preening bon vivant, indulged by friends and lovers, intimately tied to the world of the rich and famous. Then during some of his self-absorbed monologues he becomes something else, genuinely penetrating on the subject of the human condition. Then you see how cynically he uses that ability to get what he wants. So much sincere emotion demonstrated in the service of lies. His cruelty is such that one feels indignation for the murderous sociopath who becomes his muse. But at the same time, his ambition to do something great is totally understandable, and the cost to his psyche so visibly demonstrated, that he remains a sympathetic character.

    Catherine Keener plays Nelle as the perfect foil, warm and caring but so perceptive and cruelly honest. Clifton Collins Jr.'s Perry is mesmerizing, a vulnerable and sensitive and desperately yearning young man who knows he's no good. His confession is breathtaking, cold, devastating. Chris Cooper and Bruce Greenwood are also excellent in smaller roles.

    In a film with acting this sublime, it would be easy top overlook the technical accomplishments of evocative cinematography and measured, confident editing. The rhythm of the film is slow, with spaces provided for the viewer to fully absorb what's happening, and the accumulated effect was such that I had a difficult time stopping myself from shaking as I left the theatre.

    This is it, the real deal. It is difficult to imagine a more powerful film being released this year.
  • jotix1007 October 2005
    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.
  • FilmSnobby22 October 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, who we first noticed in *Scent of a Woman* some 13 years ago when he turned a fairly clichéd character into a memorable character study, finds his apotheosis -- some would say his inevitable apotheosis -- as Truman Capote in Bennett Miller's *Capote*. The writer died in 1984, and furthermore had spent the last 15 or so years of his life in relative seclusion, if you disregard his addled presence at Studio 54 and the occasional "Tonight Show" appearance. Therefore, to someone like myself, reared in the Seventies and Eighties and carrying no burning memories of the fellow, the exactitude of Hoffman's mimicry of Capote is neither here nor there. This is, above and beyond any caviling about how precise Hoffman's impersonation is of Capote, a full-bodied, well-rounded character, whose primary interest in serving the film is to make us consider the wages of art.

    Older members of the audience, by which I mean those who remember the Sixties, may be forgiven a degree of burn-out: after all, there was Capote's book "In Cold Blood", the movie on which it was based, and the writer's own self-referential celebrity. Been there and done that? Not quite: this time, we view the story ABOUT the story from the writer's perspective. It is a credit to Gerald Clarke, who wrote the book on which the film is based, Dan Futterman, who wrote the screenplay, and director Miller that this well-worn material becomes urgent and interesting again. On a wider social level, *Capote* makes a damning statement about our current fascination with "true crime" stories, which had been reinforced by Norman Mailer's "Executioner's Song" in the Seventies and has finally become noxiously regnant with cable TV's endless hours of coverage of the Peterson case and others like it. I'm not suggesting that people were not interested in this tawdry material before Capote, but the movie implicitly blames him for the shameless modern-day intertwining of writers (or TV reporters) with the crimes and criminals that they're covering. The movie also has something to say about how self-centered writers can be: Capote can only say "What's the fuss all about?" in reference to friend and fellow novelist Harper Lee's success with "To Kill a Mockingbird". After watching Smith and Hickock get hung for their crimes, Capote whines, "I'll never get over it" -- to which Lee (played by the great Catherine Keener) replies with deadpan malice, "You're still ALIVE, Truman." Amen!

    However, Capote's self-pity also contains the mere truth. *Capote* is the tragedy of a man who scrapped his own decency in order to write one of the great American novels of the 20th century. We observe the incremental milestones along the path toward greatness and damnation: Capote ingratiating himself with the Kansas locals; befriending the more sensitive and intelligent of the two murderers, Perry Smith; helping to arrange appeals for the murderers so that they'll stay alive long enough for him to collect enough information to finish his novel; smoothly lying to Smith about what he's actually writing about the case, even down to the book's title; and finally living with the consequences of his exploitative behavior. Art is achieved with devastating cost to the artist. Of course, this theme isn't exactly new, but Philip Seymour Hoffman makes it visceral with a performance containing a kaleidoscope of human behavior: cocky and in his element with his high-brow drinking pals in New York; smooth and charming as the "funny fag" stereotype (modeled on characters in the Thirties' films of Ernst Lubitsch and others) in Sheriff Dewey's home; gentle and nurturing to, and even spoon-feeding, Perry Smith during the latter's attempt at suicide-by-starvation in prison; abruptly turning the tables on Smith when Smith continues to remain close-mouthed about the night of the murders. This latter scene, in which Capote lashes out at his subject in that carefully modulated castrato voice of his, will go down in the annals of film history as perhaps the prime example of just how much contempt one human being can demonstrate to another. Granted, Perry Smith was an abomination of a man who deserved execution . . . but Hoffman's icy contempt still stabs us. Inhumanity is not always physically violent.

    A difficult film. You will walk out of it feeling uncomfortable and contemplative. There's still some time remaining in the calendar as of this writing (10/22/05), but I doubt I'll see a better American movie this year. 9 stars out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Capote Reviewed by Sam Osborn

    Rating: 3.5 out of 4

    Director: Bennett Miller Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper Screenplay: Dan Futterman MPAA Classification: R (some violent images and brief strong language)

    It seems that once a year we're treated to a performance so staggeringly magnificent that it seems as if the actor's a shoe-in for the Academy's Best Actor prize. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is just that actor for 2005. His portrayal of Truman Capote was best described by Telluride Film Festival's Galaxy Theater host as a "resurrection". Like Jamie Foxx's Ray, Charlize Theron's Monster, and Nicole Kidman's Virginia Wolfe, Hoffman's Capote is simply devastating. He stated at Telluride that after first accepting the role and watching a recording of Truman Capote he frankly thought he was in over his head. But throughout pre-production he gathered and compiled all of Capote's mannerisms and began practicing them, slowly and truly becoming Truman Capote. And from the first line of Hoffman's dialogue, with his squinched high voice, and self-absorbed tone we know he's succeeded. The actual film is nearly eclipsed by Hoffman's performance. But Director Bennett Miller and an impressive supporting cast manage to keep up with Hoffman's breakneck achievement. Shot in monochromatic, nearly black and white starkness, the film inherits a raw power that builds to its stunning climactic sequence. And although the film drags some in the middle, it finishes strong and leaves us with much to discuss. It's provocative, stark, and powerful.

    Capote opens with the discovery of a family of four murdered in the small town of Hokum, Kansas in 1953 (don't quote me on the date, please). Coming off his second novel, Truman Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is searching for his next project. Intrigued by the murders, he takes the investigation, agreeing on authoring an article for The New Yorker. Meeting with the town's Sheriff, Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), he's met with opposition in the town for his peculiar manner. But his companion on the investigation, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), offsets his homosexuality with terse, homegrown professionalism.

    Months later the two killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Richard Hickcock (Mark Pellegrino) are apprehended by Sheriff Dewey and soon sentenced to death. Finding himself increasingly drawn to the story by the sentence, Truman begins personally interviewing the murderers, particularly Perry Smith, at their maximum security prison. Avoiding discussion of the murders themselves, Capote learns more about their lives outside of crime, finding a humanity never put into print before and causing him to extend his article for The New Yorker into the full-length novel, In Cold Blood. It would be the first True Crime novel ever written. His extensive interviews with Smith lead to a strange relationship open to many terms of controversial interpretation. He feels compelled to assist the men and lead the world's opinion away from demonizing headlines. Capote even goes to lengths to find them a decent lawyer for their Supreme Court appeal.

    The screenplay deals with this controversy between Capote and Smith with beautiful ambiguity. Screenwriter Dan Futterman leaves it to Capote's character to interpret their relationship for the audience, instead of the story doing so in a ham-handed way. And with Hoffman's performance so obsessively complete, the result is magnificent. We oddly understand Capote's pain and his unique love for Perry Smith. He obviously sees the monster inside, but realizes the human entirely. Some even speculated around the festival that Capote fell in love with Smith. It's incredibly profound.

    But at the same time, Futterman's screenplay relies too much on Capote's obsession with Smith. Audience's in the 50's were terrified by Capote's humanistic realization of the murderer, but now, that sort of True Crime journalism is accepted, and even expected, from murder investigations. This reliance causes the film to linger too long on Capote's build-up interviews before the shocking, twisting confession he needs to finish the novel. Also, audiences have recently grown tired of the biopic, probably because of the last year's heaping pile of them. This mutes the typical drama that occurs in all dramatic biopics, with the character's slow deterioration.

    Despite these flaws, Capote is still an arresting portrait of a murder. And to go along with this portrait is the complete resurrection of Truman Capote in Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The film works to succeed beyond a simple biopic. It also hits on the difficult topic of true crime, delving into the imagination and conscience of a man that killed in cold blood.
  • Tecun_Uman7 November 2005
    Basically, "Capote" is a study of Truman Capote's greatest accomplishment and eventual downfall, which happens to be one in the same event, the Clutter killings. Capote on a whim decides to prove to people that non-fiction can be every bit as creative and dramatic as the wildest fiction. So he opts for doing a magazine article on the murders of the Clutter family, a kind of observation on what the murders did to the small community in Kansas. Interestingly enough, his secretary/assistant on the trip was his close friend Harper Lee ("To Kill a Mockingbird"). After the arrests of the two killers, Capote has a chance meeting with Perry, he is amazed at this "cold blooded" killer. Perry is not a violent mad dog killer, but an intelligent, peaceful and timid soul. Even during the savage killings, Perry did small things to comfort his victims. Capote can't help but sympathize with Perry and build a relationship with him (they do have a lot of things in common). Of course, part of this relationship is to get Perry to open up more and more to Capote, so Capote can get the information he needs to make his article into a book. There is a fine line in this relationship. You sense that Capote does have a compassionate feeling for Perry, even so far as hiring them an appellate lawyer. However, you also get the sense that Capote's motivation might be more commercial and business in purpose. As the story progresses, Capote starts to come to the realization of just how horrific these crimes were and that through his actions (getting the lawyer for them), he just might be letting two murderers go free. Moreover, he is constantly hounded by the two killers, who sense that he is their only friend and are relying on him for their own survival. Capote is in hell. Here is this book that will be his defining moment, but to finish it, he must stay involved in this perverse relationship with two savage killers. His life as come a long way from his happy days of endless parties in New York. Capote starts to drink excessively to escape the reality he has made for himself (and never stops). This movie is a very interesting character study and better get Hoffman a Oscar award for best actor, because he really does deserve it.
  • 'Capote' is an excellent film, in some ways as excellent as 'To Kill a Mockingbird', in that it makes you think about how we, personally and as a society, attempt to brush under the rug the disturbing events that force, if not indeed blast, their way into our lives.

    Truman Capote becomes captivated by the senseless murder of four members of the Clutter family in November of 1959. He travels to Holcomb in Western Kansas with his good friend Harper Lee (Truman Capote was the inspiration for the character Charles 'Dill' Harris - the overly precocious and fey - Summer friend who lives next door to Jem and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird) It is Harper who is able to allow Truman to enter into the world of Holcomb and after a time - Truman is questioning any and everyone he can about whom the murderers might be and why they would kill the Clutters. After the murderers are arrested - Truman befriends them and begins to write the book that will become 'In Cold Blood'. 'Capote' captures the strange relationship between Truman and Perry Smith - one of the two convicted murderers whose life resembles Capote's except - as Capote states: He walked out the front door of their mutually dismal upbringing and Perry walked out the back.

    The book 'In Cold Blood' brought Capote the recognition he long sought but at what price.

    Beautifully filmed and written. The acting is superb and Philip Seymour Hoffman is the incarnation of Capote - which should win him an Oscar - but since Capote is a small film it may not garner the support it so deserves.

    One suggestion the film's final shot might have been a long shot of the broad Kansas horizon - (imitated by Manitoba's vast skyline) slowly closing in on the Clutter common grave where Kansas Bureau of Investigation detective Alvin Dewey coincidentally meets Laura Kinney. Dewey is there to visit a family member's grave and Laura was there to visit Nancy Clutter's grave - they were best friends and had planned on going to the University of Kansas together. Then a slow pull back capturing the wind as it blows over the high plains and events that can never be taken back. (This is how the book 'In Cold Blood' ends.)
  • CAPOTE, first of all, is a well written film by the talented Dan Futterman, whose performance in URBANIA we will always remember, and for Philip Seymour Hoffman, this is his "Golden Globe and Oscar Award" all in one. From the first scene, Hoffman creates the essence of the acid tongued, tremendously talented, yet damaged, Truman Capote.

    Having read IN COLD BLOOD when it first came out, CAPOTE really captures on the screen the horror of what took place on that Kansas farm and the cinematography, costumes and locations are wonderful to behold. Miss Keener's performance is such a subtle and intelligent contrast to the hysteria of Capote, and his perfect foil.

    In the scenes with Perry Smith, they are haunting and disturbing, as if it feels like two cobras are circling one another, waiting for the first one to strike. And in this context, I ask, "2 Capote, or NOT 2 Capote?, that is the question", because both are on the take-Smith to use Capote for obtaining a pardon, Capote, to nail the story that will gain him the adulation he so adores. And then, Capote slides downhill, while Perry rots in prison.

    CAPOTE captures the essence of the 1950's, the horror of a brutal killing in the vast farmlands of Kansas, and delivers a knock out performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman. If only IN COLD BLOOD had not seemed like a manipulation by a writer out for glory at the expense of a prisoner who believed in him.
  • This is a fine character study of Truman Capote whose professional desires collide with his personal desires, as he researches and writes about the 1959 murders of a Kansas family. The film examines how these conflicting desires arose, and how Capote, the person, handled the ordeal once he realized that these desires were mutually exclusive.

    Hoffman mimics Capote's posture, voice, facial expressions, and overall mannerisms quite well. It's a great impersonation. But, towards the film's end when Capote has to say goodbye for the last time, Hoffman's portrayal of Capote's grief and helplessness goes well beyond parody. It's an example of genuine acting ability.

    Other performances are also good, especially Chris Cooper as Prosecutor Alvin Dewey, and Catherine Keener as Capote's friend, Nelle Harper Lee. In addition to the fine acting, the story itself is gripping, because it is a true story. It's been told before, most convincingly in 1967's "In Cold Blood", from the POV of the killers. That film was photographed in B&W. "Capote", by contrast, is in color. But the colors are all muted, reassuringly so, in view of the subject matter. The tone of "Capote" is solemn and earnest, almost funereal. The pace is slow and deliberate. Music is restrained.

    Viewers with little or no interest in the central character may find the first half of the film slow going. It plods along without a lot of tension or suspense. But as the writer bonds with the convicted killer, tension picks up, and then further builds en route to a profound destiny.

    My only critique, beyond a slow beginning, pertains to the minimal attention given to era atmosphere. Given that the story takes place in the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s, I would have preferred more cinematic cues of that time period, especially with regard to music, decor, and cultural themes which are curiously absent, aside from obvious props like cars and telephones.

    The Clutter killings were, and still are, unsettling and haunting, even after all these years. "Capote" is a high quality film that describes Truman Capote's research into the case, especially as regards the mindset and motivations of the killers, and further examines the effects that Capote's investigation had on him, both as a writer and as a human being with feelings. Though the story is good, Hoffman's wonderful performance is the real reason to see this film.
  • "Capote" is a film with undeniable assets: it's got the best performance by an American actor in the last decade and some of the wittiest dialog in an American film in recent years. Philip Seymour Hoffman's once-in-a-lifetime performance is simply jaw-dropping (and he's aware of it): it's a triumph of vocal and body work, with a huge range (mentally and emotionally), but above all it sparkles with supremely intelligent acting in portraying the lizard man with the 215-point I.Q. and the 1,000,000-point ego.

    The film focuses entirely on the circumstances concerning the genesis of Truman Capote's masterpiece "In Cold Blood" (the title that had, of course, a double meaning, as it described both the set of mind of the 1959 Kansas harrowing criminals and of Capote himself in his Machiavellian saga to finally complete his book). The film concentrates on Capote's transformation from lightweight literary wunderkind and jet-set wit to trend-setting, seriously talented writer, depicting the Faustian/Mephistophelian process he goes through as he realizes that, in order to produce his ground-breaking "non-fiction novel" -- which helped consolidate American media's fascination with violence, death and crime -- he has to sink deeply in muddy waters of manipulation, adulation, mendacity, bribery, omission, ultimately having to face the ugliest side of himself, like a modern Dorian Gray. In "Capote", the horrifying Kansas crime, the murderers and the circumstances that led to their execution are the background scenery allowing the filmmakers to question the author's autistic egotism, gargantuan ambition and tortuous, perverse morality (just in case anyone forgets: Capote's novel benefited who, again?)

    If "Capote" ultimately impacts less than it could/should, director Bennett Miller is probably to blame. Visually, it's bland and unexciting: it's a real shame to see such an unimaginative handling of such potentially thrilling material. "Capote" has some of the dullest courtroom scenes in movie history (and the competition is high, as we know). And what about those gigantic, paralyzed close-ups? And that static, lifeless camera? The audience goes to see the film pretty much aware that Capote's (and the screenwriter's) wit and Hoffman's performance are the core of it, and no one was asking for an action movie, but did it have to look so bland? Maybe Miller just lacks mileage (this is only his second film); or maybe he's simply not visually oriented, maybe he's an actors' director. Despite the fascinating subject, a great performance and above-average dialog, Miller's "Capote" disappointingly looks like a TV movie.

    Apart from those (not trifle) objections, "Capote" is recommended for all of us who thought wit, subtlety and acting excellence had all but disappeared from American films. PS: Richard Brooks' irregular but visually striking 1967 version of "In Cold Blood" is a complementary companion to this one.
  • I saw a press screening of this film recently, and was highly impressed by its moving account of the period in Truman Capote's life during which he wrote 'In Cold Blood'. The direction by the relatively unknown Bennett Miller is personal, evocative and affecting, but without being over-dramatic or saccharine. This is helped immensely by Philip Seymour Hoffmann's incredible performance as Capote, as well as solid acting from Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., and Chris Cooper. Cooper plays K.B.I. Agent Alvin Dewey with perhaps a bit too much intensity, given his relatively small amount of screen time, but the portrayal nonetheless comes off as heart-felt.

    The cinematography by Adam Kimmel is suitably gray and moody, with many evocative views of the flat Kansas plains, but most of the screen time is spent with the camera focused on Hoffmann - all of it time well spent.

    While I haven't read the biography by Gerald Clarke on which it's based, the script seems to hit enough salient details to evoke Capote's frame of mind, without inundating the audience with more than would fit in a feature-length film. I suppose one of my only complaints about the film would be that at times the conversations take on a sheen of Hollywood, saying things for dramatic impact that perhaps might not have been said in real life. But then again, I never met Capote, so who knows for sure.

    All in all, this was a deeply engrossing film, and one I would highly recommend, especially if you're a fan of Truman Capote.
  • richardmeadfsu8 November 2017
    Short and sweet: Capote is a stark and perfectly visualized work that highlights film's most underrated actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in all of his character-actor glory.

    I love this film for two reasons mainly: Hoffman's literally perfect performance in his portrayal of a complex journalist, Truman Capote, and the (also) perfect cinematography and editing. This is a bleak and mature picture that takes its audience as smart individuals who can make decisions on their opinion on characters by themselves. Each actor gives a very human performance, which is refreshing.

    The only thing that stops this from being a 10/10 is it does tend to drag a bit in certain spots, and I believe a good 15 minutes could have been trimmed from the run time. But, in the same breathe, I can see others defending that the extra time (used primarily to show Capote's personal life) lends to character depth.

    All in all, great film that primarily services the film snob, which is OK with me.
  • rbloom33329 November 2008
    Bennett Miller's biopic about author Truman Capote and based on the Arthur Clarke biography of the same name. The film focuses on Capote's time spent researching the killing of a family in Kansas at the end of the 50's which would later be the subject of Capote's classic "non-fiction" novel In Cold Blood, which quickly rocketed the young writer to super-stardom. The film's structure is a bit perplexing; a film could easily be made from a number of segments in Capote's fascinating life and this version chooses to elaborate on the 10 years he spent on this particular work, which is essentially the middle of his life. This period certainly yields a lot of interesting material, yet I feel that those who have not read Clarke's biography may feel a little lost as there is very little context included. The most awesome facet of the film is Phillip Seymour Hoffman's incredible impersonation of Capote; he managed to capture all of the complexity and vulnerability of Capote's character, and the film is very interesting in revealing how the young writer's efforts on this project may have ultimately destroyed him.

    The film is very engaging and often disturbing. However, a few inaccuracies are worth mentioning. The film seems to depict Capote as being uncaring and disinterested in Dick, the less intelligent of the two killers, yet the biography makes it clear that Capote devoted a great deal of attention to both killers as they awaited execution, despite his clear affection for Perry. Also, the film indicates that In Cold Blood's reception was universal acclaim; quite the contrary, many mainstream reviewers and writers such as Norman Mailer denied the book's literary merits. And thirdly, the title card at the end of the film states that In Cold Blood made Truman Capote the most famous writer in America (which is disputable), and that he never finished another book, which is blatantly false. Capote published Music for Chameleons in 1980, a collection of short stories clearly conceived as a complete book. Despite these problems, Capote is a very compelling film, and Hoffman's performance is one of his best yet.
  • "Capote" opens up as a ghostly recreation. Trepidation and dread haunt the screen from the glimpses of the crime scene, deep in the heartland (Manitoba beautifully standing in for Kansas) where we gradually become aware of violence frozen in isolation, recalling that this crime helped set up the template for portrayals of horror.

    The sudden shift to Truman Capote's milieu in New York City is a jarring juxtaposition but is equally spooky because with Philip Seymour Hoffman's brilliantly uncanny portrayal we are literally seeing an apparition. While it is a bit frustrating at first as we get almost no insight into what attracted Capote to the story, especially as we see the details of him getting organized, embarking on a long train ride into his heart of darkness and being initially brushed off by the locals, but the pay off eventually comes, if very slowly.

    There's initial jokes on the puffed-up dandy in anti-wonderland who owes a great debt to his old Southern friend the soon to be noted novelist Harper Lee (a no nonsense Catherine Keener) for regularly puncturing his pretenses and briskly bridging the cultural gap so he can begin worming his way into the community's trust (and getting condescended to in return about her book and the movie adaptation and dryly dismissed by his lover as more "manly" than he is).

    I didn't start to take seriously that the point of the film was "In Cold Blood"s effect on him until we see him sneak into the funeral home and start to psychologically absorb the murders and challenge folks to take him seriously despite his way of talking and affected mannerisms.

    A key transitional scene is almost bizarre when Capote's fame does help him here, as the wife of Chris Cooper's solid, clear-eyed, suspicious sheriff, Amy Ryan in a very atypical for her '50's housewife role, gushes over the writer in their midst (even though his books had been banned from the local library) and brokers credibility to get him crucial, exclusive contact with the still not charmed investigators and, suddenly, with one of the murderers. Amidst perfect recreations of the late '50's, we see Capote learn to manipulate his fame to get him further access, that is a harbinger of celebrity journalists to come.

    The film then shifts to an extended "Dead Man Walking" chapter, as Capote enters into a symbiotic relationship with Perry Smith, seductively and captivatingly played by Clifton Collins Jr, particularly in the build up to trying to understand the actual crime. We see Capote begin to develop a new kind of journalism even before he writes a word as he gets personally involved in the physical, mental and legal health of the murderers -- all for the benefit of his book. Key actions of his recall the cynical reporter in Billy Wilder's acerbic "Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)," first released eight years before these events, as we see Capote intentionally lie, manipulatively get involved and selectively let out bits and pieces of his own past to get others to trust and confide in him. His life itself becomes a nonfiction novel.

    But the last chapter of the film goes into unique territory, as we see the two worlds Capote has been experiencing collide in his head and take a toll on his relationships, productivity and health. The completion of the book has a relentless parallel with the cycles of justice and legal revenge with no spiritual release, just a book release, and self-aggrandizement, even as he invents a new form of personal reportage to great acclaim. The film searingly emphasizes the internal haunting Capote experiences, with his photographic recall, by leaving out that he did continue the public appearance of his wild ways, as 1966 was also the year of his notorious black and white masquerade ball.

    The atmospheric music heightens the spooky feeling that there's more happening below the surface and helps keep us thinking.

    The cinematography is exquisite throughout.
  • It's pretty rare to find yourself facing a screen, watching a film for the first time, and knowing without a single conceivable doubt that you are witnessing precious moments that are sure to define an actor's entire career. I felt this when watching Phillip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of Truman Capote. It is undeniably his best performance ever, and will be nearly impossible to top. He deserves an Oscar for this and his chances of winning are already more than excellent.

    Capote is a movie that just keeps getting better with each passing minute. Dan Futterman, a friend of Hoffman's, wrote the movie, which is one reason why he expressed an interest in playing Capote. He has also said that another reason, the main reason he wanted to do it, even above the challenge of playing this eccentric and fascinating character, was that the story was just so good. As a movie fan I initially saw it for Hoffman's performance, and for the first half hour that's all I really needed, but as the plot continued I found my self drawn in deeper and deeper. It's really an absorbing film with intriguing characters and superb acting.

    In a nutshell, I came for the acting, but I stayed for the story. Capote is one of 2005's highlights.

    My rating: 10/10
  • This is one dreary, inert, self-important bore. When the only thing that suddenly gives a film life is a hanging, you know the venture is botched. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Truman Capote as a narcissistic, tic-ridden, self-indulgent, cartoon-voiced, insect-like caricature. Why he is this way is never explained and we get scant background information. The script focuses on Capote's writing of 'In Cold Blood' and his attachment to the damaged brothers who murdered a family of four. The acclaimed writer of 'To Kill A Mockingbird', Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), accompanies Capote in his initial inquires into the crime, and her presence immediately suggests a far more interesting subject for a biopic. Unfortunately, Lee is quickly sidelined in favor of endless scenes of Capote bemoaning his pained existence. Watching him is like watching Dr. Smith from 'Lost in Space' complain about his "delicate back" to anybody who will listen for two hours. The difference, however, is that Smith was fun to watch while Capote is not. The film's precious self-importance kills it, as does director Bennett Miller's reluctance to add any kind of shading. Like the morose piano score, the film is a one note wonder, providing no contrast, no emotional coloring, and no intimate drama. If Capote really was this irritating, why make a film about him and expect audiences to watch it? Though the supporting roles are well performed (Chris Cooper is his usual stalwart self), they serve such little dramatic purpose because, ultimately, it's all about Capote(!) Director Bennett and screenwriter Dan Futterman fail to emotionally engage their intended audience because they were clearly overwhelmed by the cultural baggage of Capote's "legend". Their product is stillborn Oscar bait...and is more evidence that one great genre pic has more "truth" in it than a dozen piles of oh-so-sincere crap like this.
  • Prior to watching Capote I had very little exposure to the actual works of the writer, I have read Breakfast at Tiffanys and was not bowled over. However I approached the movie with optimism, I liked Philip Seymour Hoffman in movies like The Big Lebowski and was curious to see how a leading role would suit him. My feelings now having seen this movie is that he is and still remains a good supporting actor.

    I understand that many feel his portrayal of Truman Capote was spot on and true to every nuance of Truman himself, but there is something about the movie which I feel doesn't do justice to the themes and the man who is being portrayed. The movie hinges on whether you can tolerate Truman Capote as a personality and it is my opinion that this is where the movie fails. Philip Sermour Hoffman portrays Capote as cold and career driven but has the emotional sensitivity to cry at his subjects execution. This alone is not enough to convince me that Capote is as complex and intelligent and perhaps scheming as the movie makes out.

    Here is the main conflict of interest in the movie, at no point in the movie did the director sympathise with the murderers, neither did we feel Capote truly sympathise with the two men on death row, yet we are made to believe that Capote was battling with his conscience and by the end of the movie was eventually destroyed as a writer by his inability to come to terms with his actions towards these culprits. I have assumed this was the intended message of the movie but at no point is this battle of wills, or guilt ever portrayed on the screen. What we have is a very physical transformation of an actor into a Capote character that acts in a way that we assume reminds us of the great writer. There is no exploration of the theme of capital punishment, no reflection on the content of his novel 'In cold blood', no volley of ideas between subject and writer, but only a by numbers recount of events and perhaps a feeling of irritation towards Capote as a cowardly, egotistical, lime light hugging snob of the New York elite.

    This is not award winning material, this is an average account of an interesting figure during an integral time in his career. Perhaps reading In Cold Blood would add some clarity to the subject but for a movie which seemed to promise so much in premise, it is disheartening that we have to go back to the source to make up our minds.
  • many people said this was a great movie with Hoffman delivering a great performance. i went from suspended disbelief, to fidgety boredom, to almost walking out. there is no there there.

    Hoffman does go all out. he is committed to the performance. but sometimes him playing an affected man looks just like affected actor chewing on the scenery.

    no characters in the movie other than capote are much more than placeholders - nell, jack, perry, shawn, the sheriff are all one-dimensional.

    yes the film shows the manipulative, preening, dishonest sides of capote. it shows them so many times i started to wonder why -- do the filmmakers think we need to have everything spelled out? and again? and again? it refers often to capote's genius but does not show it. it shows him surrounded by fans and flatterers but never convinces us why.

    but my goal is not to deconstruct the film. i am sure others will have other interpretations. for me, this was a two-hour movie that felt like five.
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