Thursday, December 23, 2010

#11: Capote


It has an intriguingly lovely beginning with a young girl climbing up the stairs of a forlorn house in Kansas countryside and calling out for somebody called Nancy. As she enters a bedroom, we see Nancy lying sideways on a bed with blood splattered on the walls. 3 of a family have been slain and that attracts the attention of Truman Capote ( Philip Seymour Hoffman) who is looking for ideas for his next book.

Along with his childhood friend Nelle ( Catherine Keener), Capote sets out to find more to write an article for the New Yorker. Within days, he knows he has enough material to write a book and stays on. The book eventually is released and goes on to become Truman Capote's literary zenith. Capote is a movie that tells the story of the making of the book and what Capote went through in those years interacting with the perpetrators of that heinous crime.

The beginning was so fascinating, I am wont to believe that I raised my expectations too high. Consequently, the movie did very little for my senses thereafter. Just when I thought it would be a classic murder mystery, we saw the murderers getting caught without any explanation. When I thought Capote's gay leanings would be explored to make this movie interesting, I didn't get that either. The character of Nelle Harper Lee, the author who during the same time also worked on "To Kill a Mockingbird' was in my mind the catalyst who would challenge Capote but that didn't happen either. At 114 minutes, the movie did get tedious at times.

What of course worked was Adam Kimmel's poetic cinematography. His filmography really should be more impressive than what it is. Each scene crafted with a delightful languid punctuation that embellished the dialogues. Now let's come to Philip Seymour Hoffman who won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal. While he's done a really good job, as a viewer I failed to be affected by him and somehow that put me in a fix whether that was because he was trying too hard to be Capote or whether director Bennet Miller just didn't have in the movie that one shock, that one twist that it so badly needed that the character's conflicts never interested me enough to take notice of what Hoffman was trying to portray. I am a devotee of Phil Seymour Hoffman's work who with his performances in movies like Doubt, The Boat That Rocked, Charlie Wilson's War, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead has always stood head and shoulders above so many of the other popular names in Hollywood. Because of which I am going to stick my neck out and say that if they gave him an Oscar for this, he should've easily pocketed one for each of those other performances as well.

To sum it up, Capote is what we call in our social circles, a decent movie. Bennett Miller got a decent debut going too as director ( so christened because his first movie The Cruise was a documentary) but overall the experience of Capote was underwhelming.

Rating: 5.9/10