This story of the events that took place during the writing of Truman Capote’s pioneering work of the ‘true crime’ genre In Cold Blood was probable Philip Seymour Hoffman’s greatest film. For his role as the author he won five best actor awards including an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.
In Cold Blood is a true account of a multiple murder that took place in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. The victims were farmer Herbert Clutter, his wife and two of their four children. The film Capote (2005) follows Truman and his close friend and research assistant the American novelist Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) from when the news first broke of the murders, up until the culprit’s execution some five years later. It attempts to define the strange relationship that developed between Capote and the emotionally detached Perry Smith, a sad and lonely man who, it was proved, actually killed the Clutter’s.
Although a very challenging role we again find that Hoffman has actual become his character, the mannerisms, the voice and the way he moves. He manages to bring out Capote’s personality and makes us, the viewer, completely spell bound and we are totally convinced of the strengths and weaknesses of the man. He gives us a believable insight into how the author, a man fascinated by people, wins over the suspicious Holcomb locals, the police chief and his wife and the two men who committed the horrendous crime.
Directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball 2011) and written by Dan Futterman who based his story on Gerald Clarke’s biography of the same name. The static camerawork of Adam Kimmel and the muted palate with no blues or reds was brilliantly worked to heighten the audience’s acute awareness. Shot on location in Winnipeg with a small budget and little time, but what we get is a masterpiece in characterisation from an actor who will be sorely missed, but who thankfully left us a body of work that I fully intend to return too from time to time just to remind me how it should be done.