Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
What the MPAA Rating should be: PG-13 (for bloody violence)
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: Dan Futterman
Based on the book by: Gerald Clarke
Produced by: Caroline Brown, Michael Ohoven and William Vince
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Rollins Jr., Mark Pellegrino, Chris Cooper
Studio: Sony Picture Classics
In Cold Blood
is one of the best books I have ever had the privilege of reading. Truman Capote's way of writing a actual incident in a fictional way is very, very impressive. Of course, Capote had his major flaws and writing this book was said to be one of the most traumatic parts of his life. He never wrote another novel after In Cold Blood
, which is very unfortunate. The legacy of him writing that book is cemented in this extraordinary and brilliant film, based on the Truman Capote biography by Gerald Clarke.
The film begins with Capote anxious to start something new. He reads in the newspaper about a family called the Clutters that were murdered in Kansas. Along with his best friend, Harper Lee (who would later go on to write To Kill a Mockingbird
), he meets with the policeman whose major goal is to find the killers responsible and the friends of the Clutter family. When the killers are finally arrested, Capote meets with the two people and start to become very interested in the more sensitive one, Perry Smith. When they are put under the death penalty, Capote decides to get them a new lawyer to keep them alive and find out what happened on the fatal night that the Clutters were killed.
The entire film is brilliant from Bennett Miller's direction to Dan Futterman's script. However, the centre of the whole set piece has to be Philip Seymour Hoffman's spectacular portrayal of Truman Capote. He manages to get the voice of the famed author, but also the mannerisms. In essence, he becomes Truman Capote. This is not only the best performance I've seen this year, but also the best work by an actor in this decade. Many people are complaining about Crash
beating Brokeback Mountain
(which isn't even that great of a film) for the Best Picture Oscar, but if Philip Seymour Hoffman hadn't won Best Actor, I would have been horrified. I also want to mention Catherine Keener's stunning work playing Harper Lee. Keener is quickly turning into Meryl Streep with her ability to do portrayals of real people (as seen here) as well as comedic turns (like in Being John Malkovich
and The 40 Year Old Virgin
). Even though Truman Capote would not have liked this film's negative take on him, Capote
is still a marvellous production.
Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) posing for pictures.