Capote – watched it – what an excellent, engrossing, disturbing, human film. Took me a while to get into Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of Truman but geez what a performance! I haven’t read Capote’s book ‘In Cold Blood’ which is what the film is about, but it made me want to read it. In the film, Capote reads about the murder of a family at the hands of Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jnr in a slow-burning, showstopping performance) and Dick Hickock. He becomes obsessed with it and sets out to write a book about the case, and primarily it’s charismatic central figure, Perry Smith. In the course of his research with friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) he develops a close relationship with Perry, one that seems to have had an element of attraction in it and certainly a large dollop of manipulation. I won’t give away the end in case you haven’t seen it, but I was left disturbed. It humanised a monster which in some ways feels wrong, but when the self-confessed murderer Smith finally faces justice, it was hard not to look away. Smith’s late revelations about his involvement in the murders should (by the usual laws of film justice) have damned him to be unlikeable and monstrous, but the film never takes the easy way out by demonising him. He’s an attractive, well-spoken, intelligent, talented man who though lacking education and that all-important ‘break’ in life, endeavours to show his creative side, whilst knowing all the while that he’s destined for a life of struggle and crime. The sense that crime and punishment are waiting for him almost regardless of what he does, is omnipresent. The scene where Capote explains to Smith about his own difficult childhood is almost tender as both men realise they are not so far apart.
I didn’t pause the film once, it was too addictive. I’ve spoken to 5 people who’ve seen it, all from different backgrounds, and every one of them loved it and mentioned how powerful it was. Were there any bad reviews I wonder? Now I just have to see ‘Infamous’ to compare Capotes!