Monday, November 07, 2005

Revisiting Truman

Talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman gave a very convincing performance for me when I temporarily slipped away from my own writerly duties on Saturday to catch this movie. The film itself focuses primarily on author Truman Capote's research and writing of In Cold Blood, the book that skyrocketed him to that obscure kind of A-list notoriety status which pretty much makes a celebrity famous for simply... being famous. This movie's outstanding supporting cast includes Catherine Keener as a young writer named Nelle Harper Lee and Chris Cooper as sheriff Alvin Dewey.

In 1959, Capote is stunned into silence by a newspaper article detailing the brutal murder of the entire Clutter family in rural Kansas. Two men, and strangers to the family, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, are arrested for this savage crime which only netted the criminals a few dollars for their efforts. Capote decides he must write about the case and convinces his close friend Harper Lee, who will soon have her bestselling book, To Kill A Mockingbird published -- to be his "researcher and bodyguard." They immediately travel from the literary salons of New York to the dustier, more out of the way farmlands of the Midwest.

Capote sincerely sympathizes with the convicted killers, and just as he does, they begin to stand out like freakishly sore thumbs in the wholesome town of Holcomb, Kansas. He also identifies strongly with Perry, who is soft, sensitive and creative like himself and is dominated by the more "calculating" Richard. But the book that will cement Capote's reputation, it turns out, is more important than his blooming relationship with a poor, weak young man in a death-row cell.

Clearly, if for no other reason, if you're an all-time lover of Harper Lee and To Kill A Mockingbird like I am, it would make it well worth your while to see this movie. So check your local listings for exact times and showings of Capote...and go check it out.

Good Monday, all. Peace.


Debra Young said...

Hi, Georgie, have not visited in a while. I read "In Cold Blood" when I was a college freshman and I've never forgotten it--in all these decades. It was the first book of that kind that I'd ever read and I remember the shock and sadness I felt for the Clutter family as I read. I had no such sympathy for their killers.

Wynn Bexton said...

I was a young aspiring journalist working as a news librarian at the time, in charge of the 'crime files'. The murders really appalled me and Truman Capote's interest in the case facinated me. I'm really anxious to see the film. The book has stayed in my mind, as did the entire hideous episode. Enjoyed reading your review about it. thanks