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MOVIE REVIEW (Drama)
Capote
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener

The Official Site
Soundtrack and DVD available at Amazon.com

Label: Bennett Miller, Dan Futterman, Gerald Clarke Released: 9/10/2005


In the chic and bustling literary world of 1950s New York, famed writer Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is at the top of his game. Always the life of the party, he regales all around him with his wit and sense of humor. His inquisitive eye catches sight of a report in the Times one morning, telling of a brutal murder of a farm family in the heartland of America. Intrigued by this unusual and tragic event, Capote decides to write a story about it. He and a friend, writer Harper Lee (Katherine Keener) proceed to Kansas to gather what information they can. Upon befriending the investigating officer, Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) and his family, Capote and Lee begin to dig deeper into the events.

They soon find out that two suspects have been captured. Increasingly intrigued by the complexity of this story, Capote decides that it warrants treatment as a book. At trial, the two criminals, a boorish Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) and a withdrawn, articulate and curiously sensitive Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) are convicted and put on death row. Capote befriends the two men, Perry Smith in particular, and with a seemingly sympathetic ear, he probes and meticulously draws out the specifics of their crime. Yet coaxing Smith into trusting him and speaking his mind takes longer than Capote expects. Concerned that he would not have enough time to investigate this story thoroughly before the two are executed, Capote takes it upon himself to help the two jail birds in their appeals process, securing them appropriate legal representation to buy more time.

Soon Capote faces a dilemma as he realizes that a lengthy, drawn out appeal would thwart any completion of the book, which only fulfillment of the sentence could provide closure for. Torn between a growing fascination with the young murderer and their budding friendship and his need for closure in his work, he nevertheless "conveniently" withdraws his help and the two criminals are put to death. Witnessing their execution elicits an emotional breakdown in Capote. He finally completes his famed work "In Cold Blood", but the experience of profiling these two unique criminals overwhelms him. He drowns himself in alcoholism, never finishing another book.

Eerie, intense, and dark, Capote is an exploration of a man who is overcome by his own ambition and sells his soul in pursuit of the ultimate story. Driven and manipulative, calculating, deeply self-absorbed and vain, yet curiously vulnerable and with lots of emotional baggage of his own, Truman Capote is a contradiction. On the one hand, one is inclined to pity him for his ridiculous affectations, yet on the other, one feels almost intimidated by his ruthlessness and razor-sharp intellect. Hoffman's portrayal of this unique character is infinitely compelling and Katherine Keener's sedate, yet poignant role as sidekick Harper Lee compliments Capote's very well. Also quite notable is the performance of Clifton Collins Jr., who mesmerizes as a deeply troubled Perry Smith. Oscar nods for Philip Seymour Hoffman and the film itself are more than deserved.

SEE THIS ONE!

Natalie Baginski Email WWW

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