Monday, February 03, 2014

And there wasn't anything I could have done to save them. - Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie 'Capote'

I did not watch 'Capote' for the longest time thinking it was one of those boring biographical movies. However recently I read a blurb on Netflix that it portrays the period in Capote's life when he was researching the book 'In cold blood'. My curiosity was piqued.

I remember reading 'In cold blood' one summer afternoon. Before this book, I only knew about Breakfast at Tiffany's. I still remember my blood boiling at the murder of the innocent family in Holcomb and rejoiced when the killers were arrested. It truly was one of the best crime non-fiction books that was ever written.

Philip Seymour Hoffman personified "Capote". As someone recently said 'He was more Capote than Capote himself.' He reflected a kaleidoscope of characters shifting between light and dark moments with equal aplomb. As an ego maniac he pursued the story of the murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hancock initially as a curious writer for the New York times and later as a friend of Perry. His emotional involvement with Perry was unlike the book. The book was bleak and grim and you hated Perry from the bottom of your heart. Yet, Capote in reality was close to Perry. He was torn between writing the book and his emotions for Perry , whom he said " It's as if Perry and I grew up in the same house. And one day he stood up and went out the back door, while I went out the front."

Hoffman's portrayal of homosexuality was so convincing that I had to look up the personal life of Hoffman. His mannerisms, his fashion sense and his involvement with Perry Smith all pointed only in one direction. Yet, he was torn between right and wrong. He watched Perry hanged to death and that lead to the great writer's downfall.

The other surprise element of the movie was Harper Lee. I had no idea that she and Capote were neighbors and childhood friends in rural Alabama. And I had to hide a chuckle when Truman is jealous of the success of  'To kill a Mocking Bird'.

Watch this movie for the surprise moments  or if you are a fan of Capote's writing. But most of all watch this film for Philip Seymour Hoffman's Academy worthy performance.