Wednesday 26th January 2022

Capote (15)
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Truman Capote is regarded as one of the great American authors. Following the success of his first two books, Capote began work on his third and arguably greatest work with the initial impression that it would be a magazine article. Having caught sight of an interesting story in the newspaper, Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) travels to Kansas to investigate the murder of an innocent family of four.

Everyone laughed as Truman pointed out the missing section of his jacket
Everyone laughed as Truman pointed out the missing section of his jacket

As the facts are quickly uncovered and the criminals captured, the case becomes something of an infatuation for Capote and as his obsession grows, so does his need to tell the world about the case. Capote becomes good friends with one of the murderers, Perry Smith, and interviews him tirelessly to gather material for his book, "In Cold Blood".

Capote, as the title suggests, follows Hoffman's character closely, to the extent where there is hardly a single shot in the film that Hoffman isn't in. This really gives the sense of what a personal story it is for Capote, and also accentuates the loneliness that both Capote and Perry Smith feel throughout the tale. Together with the morose piano soundtrack, the effect on the audience is to make them feel equally lonely and unhappy.

Hoffman's portrayal of Capote is quite exceptional, especially when compared to some of the other roles he has played, and it is this that has marked him out for his Oscar nomination. Catherine Keener also appears in the film as Harper Lee, who is just finding success herself with the publication of "To Kill A Mockingbird", but despite the fame of both actor and character, she has a small part to play. Indeed, all the characters in this film are bordering on the incidental when compared to Capote.

Capote is ultimately about death and loneliness, and some of the emotions invoked are quite powerful. Truman eventually loses his infatuation with Perry Smith as he becomes more aware of the fact he is a murderer, and his unhappiness only deepens when he realises he no longer wants to help Perry in his quest to stay his execution. It's not exactly cheerful stuff, is it?

In fact, Capote can be summed up as one of those films you probably should watch, and will make you feel adult and serious when you have seen it. However, the actual act of watching the film is far from enjoyable and its slow pace will only encourage your attention to wander.

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Length: 98 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 24th February 2006

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