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Capote (2005)

Directed by Bennett Miller

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Clifton Collins Jr., Catherine Keener

This biographical film is based on the events surrounding the writing of In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s last completed novel. Director Bennett Miller (Moneyball) took on the task of bringing the creation of this book to life. He had an all-star cast to assist him that included Philip Seymour Hoffman (Moneyball), Chris Cooper (The Town), and Catherine Keener (The Soloist). The movie also features Clifton Collins Jr. (Babel), a less familiar face in a great performance.

Truman Capote (Hoffman) is the controversial author of his day. He spends his time mingling with other literary figures, including his good friend Harper Lee (Keener). When a small Kansas town becomes the center of interest over the brutal slaying of the Clutter family, Capote goes on assignment for The New Yorker to cover the story. Soon he becomes fixed on the story and begins to write a novel. As he investigates the crime he comes face to face with the two men convicted of the killings. As he interviews one of these men, Perry Smith (Keener), he develops an interest that goes beyond his work. While the men sit on death row, Capote struggles with his desire to help them despite their terrible crimes.

This is a powerful movie that brings these events to life with great skill. Hoffman embodies the eccentric author, bringing out all of his strengths and weaknesses. Even his appearance seems to bring the real Capote to life.

Keener, Cooper, and Collins were equally great in their roles. Each of the cast played the role they were given with a level of skill that made this a great film and not just a good one.

This film was a critical success, winning a number of awards. It was even nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. Still, 2006 was a tough year to guess who was  going to win the Best Actor Oscar. Philip Seymour Hoffman was going up against some great actors, in some powerful roles. Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), and Terrence Howard (Crash) were all nominated. The Academy saw Hoffman as the best, earning him his first and only Oscar.

I love this movie for a number of reasons. First, the acting is incredible. I felt drawn into the story as the movie played. The characters all showed a level of vulnerability as well, which made it easier to share in the conflicted feelings throughout.

I also loved the camera work and the score. I put them together because I think that they need to fit together. This time it was a success, each scene was put together nicely, leaving the movie without distraction.

Finally, I love the story. Capote wrote the novel, but it was good to see someone tell the story of how this novel came about. There is something powerful about the rise to fame the story gave Capote when it’s compared to the death sentences carried out by the men who the book was about.

I think that this is a movie that everyone should see. It is emotional and gritty at times. I would recommend it to anyone who likes crime movies, dramas, or power true-life stories. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 114 minutes


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