The underlying story is of Capote's efforts as a writer for the New Yorker to uncover a community's reaction to the senseless and horrific murder of a loving family of four in Halcomb, Kansas in 1959. But events take an unanticipated turn when he strikes up an intricate relationship with the family's murderers, in particular Perry Smith.
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However, the difficult liaison between Capote, the writer, and Smith the murderer is what really defines this film. On the surface, they could not be more different: Hoffman's Capote is a gay, cosmopolitan, party hopping raconteur, always the centre of attention with his alarming falsetto voice and sharp humor; Perry (played by Clifton Collins) is suspicious, withdrawn, nervous and with the potential to violently fly into a rage.
Dig beneath the surface, though, and you find that there is a lot more that unites than divides. Both of them were abandoned, alcoholic, and had a parent that killed themselves. “Both of them were short oddities, outsiders who turned to writing and drawing as a means of catharsis and expression,” Bennett Miller, the film's director, recently pointed out.
In Capotes tactical game play, Perry appears as an insignificant pawn with a weak personality.
And apparently, that is the message that director Bennet Miller is trying to get across. Capote wanted to become the most highly regarded writer on the planet, which meant manipulating his increasingly close relationship with Perry in order to finish the book. Capote could have tried to save Smith from the gallows, but he needed an ending for his book, and so chose to turn his back on his friend.
Hoffman's striking performance is a joy to watch, although his voice becomes a little ingratiating by the end. He is ably supported by Catherine Keener, who plays Capote's close friend, and confidant Harper Lee, writer of the classic novel To Kill a Mocking Bird. Chris Cooper of American Beauty fame also plays his part as the sheriff of Holcomb on the receiving end of Capote's manipulative charm offensive.
In short, this film provides a fascinating insight into the dual personality of the author and what happened behind the scenes.
The review of this Movie prepared by Afia Ahmad
The brutal murder of a rural Kansas family in 1959 captures the attention of New York writer Truman Capote (Seymour Hoffman). He persuades his editor to finance his trip to write an article about the crime. His interest turns to obsession as he researches the town, the family and the two murderers. He is particulary drawn to killer Perry Smith, with whom he identifies because painful family and childhood issues.
Capote is accompanied by lifetime friend and fellow writer Harper Lee (Keener), The article turns into a book.
Capote's obsession with the crime and the killers affects his personal relationships with his friends and his lover.
The review of this Movie prepared by Cyndi Cunningham
In 1959, Truman Capote (Hoffman) is a darling of the New York literary set. He reads a small news story about the brutal slaying of a well-to-do family of four in their home on the Kansas prairie, and asks New Yorker editor Wallace Shawn (Balaban) to send him out to do a story on the effects of the crime on the town.
Accompanied by his assistant Nelle Harper Lee (Keener), soon to be known for her novel, _To Kill a Mockingbird_, Capote heads out to Holcombe, Kansas in the middle of winter to interview the sheriff, Alvin Dewey (Cooper) and various townspeople. After the two suspected killers are caught, Capote begins to spend considerable time with one of them, Perry Smith (Collins). Fascinated by Smith and the story in general, and convinced he can make both into a new kind of book -- the "nonfiction novel" -- Capote does everything he can to keep Smith from being executed until he can get the full story of the murders out of him.
After six years of appeals and deceptions, Capote gets his book, _In Cold Blood_, which will soon be a bestseller and a movie.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus