The true story of the relationship that was formed between writer
Truman Capote and convicted murderer Perry Smith in the early 1960's.
Directed by Bennett Miller
Written by Dan Futterman
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins Jr., Mark Pellegrino, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban
Based on the book by Gerald Clarke
Oscar Wins - Best Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
The murder of the Clutter family in 1959 shook the small community of Holcomb, KS to its core. When the killers were caught, they were sentenced to death and while on death row, they were repeatedly interviewed by famed writer Truman Capote, as research for his upcoming novel In Cold Blood. Capote became especially close to Perry Smith, and this film tells the story of that relationship and how much it affected Capote and his career. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives quite possibly the performance of his career as the eponymous writer, injecting this flamboyant, complex historical figure with some humility and humanity.
I remember reading In Cold Blood in high school, and how I couldn't put it down. Capote's work still resonates with readers everywhere, and his investigation into the Clutter murders was thorough. It changed his life, and the film goes into great detail about everything he did in the name of finishing what he believed would be his masterpiece. Clifton Collins Jr. shines as Perry Smith, sociopathic, unhinged, but oddly sympathetic multiple murderer. I wish Mark Pellegrino got more attention as Dick Hickock, his partner, but Smith was the intelligent, talkative one. It's strange how at the film's end, when Smith and Hickock are executed, you feel bad for them. Bennett Miller paints them as human beings, not remorseless killers. The film is as much about them as it is about Truman Capote, as well as his affectionate relationship with Harper Lee (Keener).
Hoffman is unrecognizable in this role that won him Oscar gold, in a year where it was truly anybody's game. The film is slow, but it's a comfortable slow. The story unfolds as quickly as it needs to. For a directorial debut, Miller does a phenomenal job telling this multi-sided story, something he would later do again with Moneyball and Foxcatcher. The entire cast delivers, but Hoffman is once again unmatched in his ability to transform. With every film of his I watch for the first time, I'm consistently reminded that he left us too soon. But his hefty catalog will always serve as a testament to his incredible skill in front of the camera.