Friday, May 26, 2006
This moving film lives and breathes on the powerful shoulders of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's stunning performance in the title role. Hoffman captures all of the unique physical characteristics that made Capote such a familiar public figure in his lifetime and invests them with a humanity that is almost unbearably poignant.
Capote focuses its lens on 1959, when the author happens upon a New York Times article about the brutal murders of the simple, upstanding Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas. This is just the opening Capote needs to prove his untested theory that in gifted hands nonfiction can be as scintillating as fiction.
With the support of researcher and bodyguard Harper Lee (the superb Catherine Keener as the To Kill a Mockingbird author) and the blessing of his editor, Capote sets out for Kansas and an obsession that will ultimately consume his intricate life.
Capote dives into his research with abandon, befriending accused killer Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) with whom he feels a curious bond. Perry is sensitive, moody, creative and altogether misunderstood, a fair assessment of Capote himself.
The film focuses on Capote's relationship and identification with killer Perry Smith which is a compelling and complicated relationship that this uncompromising film presents in moving detail.
But what truly makes it a unique work of art is the brilliant work of Hoffman - always an interesting actor - whose performance as Truman Capote won him the Best Actor Oscar.