Friday, February 17, 2006


Capote MoviePhilip Seymour Hoffman Directed by Bennett Miller
Reviewed by Byron Merritt



Truman Capote’s masterpiece IN COLD BLOOD (1966) set a new standard and style in the literary world. We know that he didn’t finish another novel after it, too, which begs the question, "Why?"

Fast-forward to the 2005 film CAPOTE and we get the answer.

Mr. Capote is reincarnated in the body of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, and it is "through" him that we get to find out what happened during this snapshot time of Truman Capote’s life. A vicious murder of a family in rural Kansas takes place and Truman races there to find out if there’s a magazine story in it. But what he finds is much more than just a short periodical piece. As the murderers are captured, Truman becomes enraptured with the idea of learning why these seemingly innocuous men did something so heinous.

Truman digs deep, perhaps too deep, and we watch as every shred of decency is stripped away from him just so he can "finish the story." He bribes the prison warden and lies to the two killers (and ultimately to himself) about why he’s really spending so much time with them on death row.

In the end, it rips Truman apart, causing him to become an alcoholic and a shell of what he once was.

Occasionally casting directors get "it" right. And this time, they not only got it right by casting Mr. Hoffman in the role of Truman Capote, they bottled a bit of magic and captured it on film. David Strathairn did it, too, in his performance as Edward R. Murrow in GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, but Hoffman takes it to a euphoric level for movie watchers. His mannerisms, voice and costumes were impeccable. Many times I thought I was actually watching Truman Capote and not an actor playing him. Now that’s great acting.

If there was any failings in the movie, I’d have to say it was with its overall script. Although intriguing and genuinely creepy, it held only a small piece of what Truman Capote was. I realize that to capture all of what he was would be almost impossible ...but there you go. That’s life in the movies.

Even so, Hoffman deserves all the accolades he’s gotten and I have no doubt he’ll jump up on stage at the Oscars this year and pick up his statue.

Click here for the Capote movie trailer!

Oscar Award Winner: Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Golden Globe Award Winner: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture

BAFTA Award Winner: Actor in a Leading Role


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