Review by Harriet Robbins
To capture the complex character of Truman Capote in this gripping, fascinating film, Phillip Seymour Hoffman had to perform miracles. CAPOTE, directed by Bennett Miller, screenplay by Dan Futterman (based on a book by Gerald Clarke), deals with the life of the late writer, an American original.
Portraying his lifestyle, his ambition and creative genius, was no easy matter for Hoffman, if only because the fey, flamboyant, jet-setting Capote was also a flawed, lonely and often-desperate man with a strong self-destructive streak.
Capote came to fame with the publication of his "nonfiction novel" In Cold Blood, which was based on the murder of a wellknown Kansas family, the Clutters. With his childhood friend, Harper Lee (Cathering Keener)--who later would win a Pulitzer Prize for To Kill a Mockingbird--Capote went to Kansas to research the story. The journey became an epic adventure.
The young men who killed the Clutters were Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr) and Dave Hickock (Mark Pellegrino). When he met and interviewed them in prison, Capote realized that destiny had placed a great story in his path. The movie does a splendid job in showing how Capote managed to respond to the challenge presented by the murder--and by the men who committed it.
Hoffman literally gets into Capote's skin and brain during the course of his brilliant performance. The relationship Capote develops with Smith becomes deeper and more moving as the story unfolds, if only because they came out of similar childhood backgrounds of loneliness and alienation.
With the publication of In Cold Blood Capote achieved the cuccess he craved, only to destroy himself soon afterwards by drinking himself to death. Hoffman captures all of Capote's many sides in a performance that could bring him an Oscar Award.