Published Nov 01, 2005The buzz on Capote is that golden boy Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays charismatic Manhattan writer Truman Capote, will be nominated for every major acting award around. He's perfect as a manipulative charmer obsessed with writing In Cold Blood, the wildly successful blockbuster that eventually changed publishing in America. Capote proved that non-fiction was as accessible as fiction with the book's publication in 1966. In Capote, he can't finish his masterpiece until his criminal subjects are executed for the 1959 slaying of the Clutter family in Kansas. Will Truman ease his conscience and help them get a stay of execution, or will he let them die to finish his non-fiction milestone?
Capote is truly surprising. Hoffman, Miller and screenwriter Dan Futterman perform an arch sort of magic as the first act becomes what we've typically come to expect from bio-pics and the second pits Capote against Perry Smith (one of the killers) in a manipulative yet redemptive game. But Capote gets so lean it smacks you right across the face. Its evolution into a crisp piece of work leaves you wondering if the "expected" nature of the first act was a trick. (I suspect it was.) So Hoffman is brilliant and Capote works, even if it's been "sanitised" for widespread consumption. Hoffman and Bruce Greenwood play boyfriends who never touch each other. (They're gay for God's sake, have them kiss and get it over with.) And when Truman shares a longing look with a stranger then follows him into a bar, it's executed so hastily that we're left wondering what actually happened. Despite the homophobic eyesores, Capote will be a rousing success, and "golden boy" Hoffman should get his gold statue. (Mongrel Media)