Review of Capote (Movie)

Posted by Conor O'Neill on Monday, May 7, 2007

Superb acting and gripping story. Now have to go out and buy “In Cold Blood”

    Review of <span class="item"><span class="fn">[Capote (Movie)](</span></span></div>

Rated as 5/5 on May 07 2007 by Conor O’Neill


I used to read lots but don’t find the time any more. I’ve always tended to avoid “literature”. Either non-fiction or pulp thrillers are my staples. I’m one of those people who read “Catcher In The Rye” and thought “so what? tosser”.

For this reason, whilst I’d obviously heard of Truman Capote and knew the basic story of In Cold Blood, I’ve never had any desire to read it and had no intention of watching “Capote” the movie. However I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is incredible and I could find nothing else to watch on Sky Movies last Saturday so I gave it a go.

I’m so glad I did. Capote was obviously a very strange man, utterly manipulative and obsessed with fame but that cannot take away from what he achieved with his novel. As he said himself, this was the book he was born to write.

In case you don’t know, quick synopsis: Capote worked for The New Yorker magazine. In 1959 he spotted a story about the murder of an entire family of farmers in Kansas and decides to go there to cover it. He befriends many of the people involved and decides there is a book in it. They catch the perpetrators and he starts interviewing them, focusing on the more “sensitive” one. His empathy with them is quite disturbing. He released “In Cold Blood” to worldwide acclaim becoming America’s most famous author and never finished another book.    

I don’t know if he invented a new genre or not but I realised watching the movie that he was writing the sort of book that would appeal to me. More than straight non-fiction and more important than fiction.

As the movie progressed, I was worried that we would never hear about the night of the murders from the killers (as was Capote) but eventually we did and it felt authentic. At least one of them deserved the death penalty and they both got it which finally enabled Capote to publish. Of course the implication is that he wanted the execution to happen or he would never have a complete book.

The acting throughout is superb and I was disappointed that Catherine Keener didn’t get more screen time and that her character of Harper Lee who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird?” was not explored more. His partner remained oddly anonymous throughout too.

Apart from that, a superb film for which Hoffman fully deserved the Oscar. 

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