Directed by Bennett Miller.
Written by Dan Futterman. Based on the book by Gerald Clarke.
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins
Jr. and Chris Cooper.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 10/26/2005
Even if you don't follow the movie business
all that much, you have probably heard rumblings about the lead
performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the title role of
"Capote"...but who would have thought there was so much more to the
Based on a book by Gerald Clarke, "Capote"
tells the true story of writer Truman Capote (Hoffman) in 1959, soon
after the success of his bestselling novel Breakfast at Tiffany's
has made him one of the hottest scribes in America. As a
writer for The New Yorker, Capote decides to write a story
based on the lives of those affected by a brutal group murder at a
home in small-town Kansas...and, instead of a human interest piece
that might span a few pages, Capote and his research partner, "To
Kill a Mockingbird" writer Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), uncover a
story so big and one that runs so long that Capote turns the story
into his most famous book and one that takes almost five years to
write. The story, a "non-fiction novel" called In Cold
Blood, focuses on the exploits of the two criminals involved,
Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) and Perry Smith (Clifton Collins
Jr.). Capote spends most of his time with Smith after the two
men are convicted; the interviews that he conducts with Smith are
the driving force of the film, as is Capote's incredible
self-absorption and peculiar lifestyle.
All the hype coming in was certainly about
Hoffman's nuanced performance, and it's almost impossible to
describe that performance without actually seeing it yourself.
I didn't see a single trailer for this film, and I'm glad, because
it almost ruins the surprise of seeing Hoffman play this character.
Needless to say, he is excellent...but far and away, the best
performance of the film belongs to long-time character actor
Collins, who should certainly see his first Oscar nomination come
out of this work, work that is beautiful to behold and eventually
achieves the personal side of what drives a criminal to be the way
that he is. As Smith, Collins--he's shown up in a litter of
films, but I remember him from
"The Last Castle"
and a quick stint in "Alias"--has some of the film's best moments,
and he just feels so dangerous all film long as he stares down
Capote and his constant badgering about the fateful night in
question. Dangerous, but still aware of his situation and
hopeful that he will be immortalized in Capote's novel; I was just
blown away by how strong the Collins performance was in relation to
similarly good work by Chris Cooper as the quiet town's sheriff,
Keener, and Hoffman.
I love how quiet a film "Capote" is; I love
the mix of quick cuts with long master shots of conversation between
two characters by never leaving one person or the other; the
cinematography was also excellent. Continuing an October
trend, this one is another film that I learned something from
"Good Night, and Good Luck") and if I read more books I would
certainly run out and pick this one up to find out more about the
killers. Even imagining this small man with the quite-feminine
voice and the live-in boyfriend (played here by Bruce Greenwood)
being THE man of the moment in the late 50s and early 60s is a shock
to the system...to believe that it is real mostly comes due to the
presence of Hoffman channeling the character as the life of the
Good stuff all around. Another one
that will be a surefire contender for end-of-year awards.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard