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Saturday, December 02, 2006

What the "Capote"!

Alyssa and I watched (well sort of) Capote last night. Actually Lyss fell asleep before the halfway mark and I found it really hard to keep my eyes open and so called it quits about an hour in.

I hadn't really heard much about the film but I knew it was based on reality, and had Harper Lee of To Kill a Mockingbird fame (everyone's read this book haven't they?) as a central character. I knew nothing about Truman Capote but read on the back cover of the DVD that he was the author of, among other things, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Also on the back cover were the words "best picture of the year".

Basically the plot surrounds a murder in rural Kansas. A family of 4 are slaughtered in their beds by two itinerants - one a part-Cherokee Indian.

Enter Capote and Lee. Capote heads on over to the scene of the murders as a correspondent for the New Yorker magazine with Lee as his research assistant. He befriends the local Chief of Police, a good "Christian" man and church-friend of the murdered farmer (this point is stressed- they were friends from church).

Somewhere along the way Capote decides he is going to write a book rather than a magazine articles and constantly refers to the proposed book as "his greatest work" and the "book I was always meant to write". Although up to the point at which I turned off last night, he hadn't written a word and they seemed to be making a thing of this. I am guessing the book won't end up getting written.

When the killers are caught, Capote befriends them as well but takes a particular (sexual??) interest in the young half-Cherokee.

I found Philip Seymour Hoffman's (Capote) affected, effeminate, drawl particularly distracting, as was the subtle (yet not, given Capote's mincing manner) homosexual subplot. Something that, at least up until the halfway mark, was only glimpsed in the periphery. While this was quite cleverly done, with Capote throwing in subtle, anti-homosexual comments from time to time to keep you guessing, it did kind of hang around like a bad smell.

While I know nothing about Truman Capote, I am guessing, from the era in which the film is set (1959), the film makers are trying to capture the essence of the culture of the day, when being homosexual was less than acceptable - highlighted by Capote's condescendingly negative critique of another authors overtly homosexual book, early on in the movie.

There was nothing that really grabbed me about this movie at all but I hate to waste 7 bucks so am going to persevere to the end once I have finished preparing my message for tomorrow. At the very least I might get a good afternoon nap out it!

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