Wednesday, February 01, 2006


United Artists
Director: Bennett Miller
Length: 114 min.
Format: 35mm
Date Viewed: 1 February

If this film's representation of the title character is even a little true, then Truman Capote must have been a pretty terrible man. For two hours, we see his extreme narcissism fuel him towards manipulating, lying to and bribing everyone around him to get what he wants. What he wanted was to write the book to end all books, and he got what he wanted with In Cold Blood.

But the price he paid was too great. As history tells us, he never finished another book, got trapped in his public persona and died of alcoholism. In a sense, the movie serves as a piece of moralism. Narcissism, no matter what it may bring you if anything at all, will end up destroying you. Yes, the film is as depressing as it sounds.

And it's hard to argue with Dan Callahan who, in his review of this film for Slant Magazine, says that the film would have been much better and the title character more interesting "if Capote himself were treated with just an ounce more sympathy." True, but still, Hoffman does a tremendous job of playing Capote, and indeed, the entire cast is first-rate, Catherine Keener and Clifton Collins also each give one of their best performances here.

The script is also well structured and does a good job of showing the beginning of Capote's downward spiral. Miller, in his second feature and first narrative, shows himself a capable director, and is a director who shows violence in the most appropriately blunt and horrifying ways I've seen in some time. It was so effective, I had to look away a couple times, and I was incredibly glad that there was only a very small amount of this in the film.

I can recommend Capote, but don't expect to come out of the cinema happier and more "up with people" than when you went it.


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