In November 1959, writer Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), reads of the murders of four members of a farm family, the Clutters, in Holcomb, Kansas. Intrigued, he convinces The New Yorker magazine to give him an assignment. Accompanying him is his friend and research assistant Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), whose book To Kill a Mockingbird is about to be published. Capote wins the trust of the locals, notably Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper), the agent who is leading the hunt for the killers. Caught in Las Vegas, the killers, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), are tried, convicted and sentenced to die. Capote visits them in jail. As he gets to know them, especially Smith, he realizes that the magazine article has grown into a book, eventually titled In Cold Blood, a book that could have an enormous impact on literature.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Capote is both revelatory and revolutionary. The former for its exposition of details about Truman Capote that I never knew (and I assume they're pretty accurate), the latter because the filmmakers have replicated Capote's feat with the film. They have made a film about facts play like the best of fiction films. This is, of course, what most biopics try to do, but in this case, the focus is so intense that the story is about a particular passage of time in the subject's life.
Grounded in a superb screenplay, the film is entirely in the hand of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote, a remarkable performance that dares to dangle over the precipice of overstatement to capture a character who defies fiction. The beauty of the film is that we get Truman's true complexity, rather than being offered simplistic analysis.
Capote is presented with flaws and weaknesses, including his vanity and his hubris, his manipulative side as well observed as his great literary gift.
Moving, shattering and intellectually stimulating, the film's primal concerns are with the characters who propel the story. But we also get a real sense of the times, the late 50s and early 60s in America. Some of the most brilliantly shot scenes are those in which Capote is holding court, cigarette and intellect burning, drink in hand, his gay persona humming in full entertaining flight. The more dramatic scenes are controlled and understated, drawing us in with our deadly curiosity ....
There's are two audio commentaries on the DVD including one with director Bennett Miller and star Philip Seymour Hoffman. There's also a documentary about Truman Capote and a two part feature on the making of the movie.
Published September 6, 2006
Email this article
CAPOTE: DVD (M)
CAST: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Christine Keener, Clifton Collins jr, Mark Pellegrino, Chris Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Amy Ryan
PRODUCER: Caroline Baron, Michael Ohoven, William Vince
DIRECTOR: Bennett Miller
SCRIPT: Dan Futterman (Gerald Clarke book)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Kimmel
EDITOR: Christopher Tellefsen
MUSIC: Mychael Danna
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jess Gonchor
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 23, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Bennett Miller and star Philip Seymour Hoffman; Audio commentary by director Bennett Miller and cinematographer Adam Kimmel; 'Answered Prayers' - a documentary about Truman Capote; 'Making Capote' - a 2 part feature on the making of the movie
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: September 6, 2006