Sunday, February 19, 2006


Went to see Capote last night at the Catlow Theatre (first time ever in the local landmark -- surprisingly big, very Bavarian theatre).

Now I had seen Brokeback Mountain and Heath Ledger was terrific in that movie, but if that is outstanding acting (which it was), then what Philip Seymour Hoffman does in Capote is something entirely different -- entirely beyond outstanding. Hoffman completely inhabits the role -- becomes Truman Capote -- in a way that I can't imagine anyone else doing (although another Capote biopic is due out in 2006, starring Toby Jones).

The movie is unsparing in its portrayal of Capote, warts and all. He's a user, but is it really immoral to be a user if the one your using is a mass murderer? Or in the end aren't you really using the murdered, not the murderer?

The movie doesn't make those decisions for you (even as the characters within the movie -- particularly Catherine Keener's Harper Lee and Chris Cooper's KBI Agent Alvin Dewey -- make their own studied and subtle decisions), and doesn't fail to bring out all sides of Capote's connections and purposes. Hoffman's single-shot scene saying his final goodbye to the two murderers before their execution is a stunning in its humanity -- it snaps the character into an entirely different place from where the movie has spent an hour-and-a-half placing him. Astonishing.

The movie is truly disturbing on many levels -- and the horrifically recounted scenes of the murders themselves are by no means even the most disturbing -- but is equally provocative on many levels.


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