Sunday, February 12, 2006
holy crap, capote's good
This weekend I did something completely uncharacteristic of me; I went to the movie theater not only once, BUT TWICE (gasp). Yes it's true. I love movies, but for whatever reason I hardly ever go to the theater, however I couldn't not see Capote seeing as it's the only film out of the five "best picture" nominees that I hadn't yet seen. I knew very little about the film going in except that Philip Seymour Hoffman is considered by many to be a shoe-in for best actor. So, I suppose I didn't have incredibly high expectations and perhaps that's why I was so impressed with the film.

Hoffman was brilliant (of course), but I didn't expect the story to be as brilliant as it was. Admittedly, I have neither read nor seen In Cold Blood, so the story was completely new to me and maybe that 's why I found it so intriguing. All five of the films nominated this year are really thoughtful and important, but surprisingly, this movie lingered in my mind longer than Munich or Brokeback Mountain.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet (which, considering its limited release is probably most of you) this film tells the story of the six years it took Capote to research and write the book that became his claim to fame. Capote reveals himself to be impossibly narcissistic as he befriends and probably falls in love with Perry Smith, one of the murderers, apparently only to use him for his story. He hired him a better lawyer to win him an appeal with the purpose of keeping Perry alive long enough to finish his book. When the appeal fails and Perry needs his help, Capote ignores him; he's got what he needed from him and now has to impatiently wait for him to be executed so his book can finally be published. The entire time Capote seems to be tortured by these events that have absolutely nothing to do with him, even complaining that he was being "tortured" when the murderers received a stay of execution.

Most intriguing to me was how similar Perry and Capote are to one another. Both share similar childhoods yet their futures take completely different directions; they are despicable yet likeable, sensitive yet completely insensitive and show moments of kindness and moments of complete monstrousness. Ironically, Capote comes off as being worse than the murderers, as he uses the people touched by the violence to receive the love and admiration of millions.

More than any of the other Oscar contenders, I finished this film and felt the burning need to talk about it with anyone who would listen. (Well, that's not entirely true. Nathan and I did spend quite a long time discussing Syriana, but that's only because he had to explain the whole film and most of the last 30 years of Middle East - American politics to me.)

Although I loved Brokeback Mountain, dare I say Capote might be my favorite film of the year?


Blogger JMW said...

I liked this movie quite a bit, though not as much as you did. Hoffman was great, no question. I always find slice-in-time projects like this one a bit too claustraphobic in some inexplicable way, but I admit that's a completely personal and pretty much indefensible position.

Most importantly: Read the book. It's amazing.

Blogger MAW said...

The film actually inspired me to finally start reading the book. It is amazing so far and it makes me appreciate all the subtle details of the film even more.

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