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CAPOTE - 2005

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderC. PattersonJ. CorcoranPolly Peluso
Erica VitalD Mitchell

ERICA HECTOR VITAL

CAPOTE

A Madly Manipulative Mind At Work

By
Erica Hector Vital
Red Rock Review
ericavital@cox.net
ericav@theflickchicks.com

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Every over-the-top, blood splattered network expose’ that dares to go behind the mind of a serial killer, can now trace its lineage back to a moment shot in diffuse morning light by director Bennett Miller, when actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, eerily summoning up the soft posture and disarming lisp of literary lion Truman Capote, opens up the New York Times. 

What catches the eye of Hoffman, as an infuriatingly brilliant Capote, is a story of murder in a small Kansas town.  This moment when east meets mid-West lies at the thematic center of the long-awaited biopic, Capote.  Miller skillfully ferries us back and forth between the physical and psychological landscapes of a dour, unadorned farming community and the sleek, acculturated world of the 1950’s café society Capote inhabited.  Miller, whose directing credits include the award-winning New York docu-drama Cruising, exposes parallel universes here of the privileged and not so privileged, the urbane and less socially adroit, the straight and the flamboyantly other.

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

“I want to know,” whispers Hoffman as a Capote audiences will love to hate, “what happened that night when these two worlds converged.”  The staid, isolated homeland morality of Holcomb, Kansas folk and the hard luck lives of killers Perry Smith and Richard Hickock are the worlds Capote defined in what he termed “a literary non-fiction”, in the best-selling 1966 publication In Cold Blood.  What is remarkable in this film, as was the case in Capote’s relatively short life, is the ease in which the Alabama raised, sexually flamboyant writer was able to wield the weapons of his intellect and predatory charm to infiltrate both worlds.

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

38-year-old, New York born Hoffman has made an art of playing the social and, on occasion, the sexual “other”.  From the doomed Freddie Miles In The Talented Mr. Ripley to the androgynous Scotty J., haplessly in love with Mark Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights, Hoffman builds upon the old hurts, the anticipated rebuffs, and the desperate acts of the outsider.  And though the mark of the true actor is to disappear inside a role, Hoffman’s physical bearing—the round face, the broad jaw, the proud pallor of blue-blood gone wrong—becomes a part of each characterization. Even as he assumes the biting wit and vicious flair of Capote, there are moments of quiet waiting, the watchfulness of an intensely talented, madly manipulative mind at work.

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

Entranced by Hoffman’s dead-on appropriation of Capote, and in turn, Capote’s bold appropriation of tragedy, it is easy to forget the brutality of the event that in Capote’s hands would come to inspire the true crime genre.  Lest we forget, Perry Smith, rendered with an understated menace by Clifton Collins Jr., and with a twisted grin by Mark Pellegrino, walked into a white clapboard farmhouse in November 1959, bound and gagged Herbert Clutter, his wife Bonnie, and their two teens, Nancy and Kenyon Clutter, and executed them one by one.

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

The film answers Capote’s question of what happened that night while raising other questions that are equally disturbing.  Even as he behaves less than honorably, we root for this writer’s success, and so should ask ourselves what price is too high for fame?  We might ask where we are in the social machine that causes the Perry Smiths and Richard Hickocks of the world to go wrong and then go on to prosper in the limelight?  And finally, how responsible are we for the glorification of violence, for looking in, and therefore becoming a part of the media circus that can transform an act of horror into a viable commodity? As the director of Capote, Bennett Miller perfectly captures the American phenomena of bowing in the face of celebrity no matter how brutally attained.

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

Back in his hotel room, after having lifted the lids of the Clutter coffins, Capote calls what will become his life partner of 30 years, played here by the solidly handsome Bruce Greenwood, J.F.K in Thirteen Days.  “It was simply horrifying,” Hoffman lisps.  “But a relief, really. Something so horrible makes me seem almost normal.”  Even in the face of death, Capote could make the experience all about him.  In the service of this unabashed ego, Truman Capote managed to leave a few bodies of his own.  In 1975, when he published the first chapters of a society tell all, Answered Prayers, in Esquire, the secrets he revealed led to exile from the glittering social scene.  

 The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Chris Cooper, Bob Balaban, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, Mark Pellegrino, Dan Futterman, Bennett Miller, Michael Ohoven, William Vance

Always easy to watch, Catherine Keener is a morally elegant Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird, and Truman Capote’s childhood friend and conscience. Chris Cooper, Adaptation, American Beauty, Jarhead, conveys credibility and grace as KBI agent, Alvin Dewey; and Bob Balaban, A Mighty Wind, Close Encounters, is Truman’s urbane New Yorker editor.  This film brings both Seymour Philip Hoffman and the literary legend of Truman Capote full circle as the world of the marginalized outsider might just converge with the praise of Hollywood insiders come Oscar.  Capote is a satisfyingly complex and complicated film.

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderC. PattersonJ. CorcoranPolly Peluso
Erica VitalD Mitchell

 

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