The film greets you with eerie Kansas fields. The colors are cold, faded and dead, a winter with no snow for enchantment. Everything is vacant, barren, and uninviting. The tone is set and doesn’t give us much to hope for.
In this middle of nowhere Kansas town, a family of four is murdered. This kind of senseless violence is uncommon and shakes the small town. When Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a writer for the New Yorker hears about it, he’s intrigued and travels there with his partner, Harper Lee (Catherine Keener). They investigate to see how the murders have impacted the people, but it isn’t long before Capote digs deeper and decides to turn the small project into his greatest literary work, In Cold Blood.
Capote, played by the amazing Philip Seymour Hoffman, is a pasty white, slick haired, portly man. He sports a slightly bored and conniving expression behind his thick glasses. It seems he has to prove he’s better than everyone around him in some way, whether he’s showing off his scarf or paid the luggage guy compliment him. It always has to be about him. He’s always finding opportunities to just toot his own horn. But more importantly, he’s able to slightly manipulate people with a little story.
When you put a guy like that in a little town in the sticks, he’s not going to make many friends. Some people are interested by him, but only for a while. The only one who really wants his company is one of the murders, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.). In Capote’s research he interviews Smith, but becomes more and more fascinated by him.
Things get dangerous when Capote sympathizes with Smith. Where do the morals lie on befriending and helping a convicted murderer on death row? On one hand, Capote says he wants people to understand Smith as a man, not as a monster, yet the sensational story doesn’t make him the most sympathetic character.
From the first day Capote was in Kansas, when he walked into the funeral home, saw four caskets lined up and had the gull to lift the lid and peer in, I knew he was in trouble. His morbid fascination plus his head jammed up his ass was going to be a horrible combination for him, and to be honest, I wanted to see him fall. I won’t give away any details, cause those are worth the watch, but Capote gets the mental anguish he deserves but is hailed for his amazing work.
“It’s the book I was always meant to write.”