The Universe and Me

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Some punk with a shotgun

Movie: Capote. Count me in on those not old enough to know what he was like in his prime. If I heard this correctly, following the book In Cold Blood (which was indeed ground-breaking and did change literary styles), Capote never finished a major work for the rest of his life. About twenty years. That tells us an enormous amount about how involved and emotionally torn apart he was with the case. He couldn’t forgive himself for putting his work over his friendship, but I seriously wonder if there was anything more he could have done and the fact remains his help gave those two undeserving murderers several more years than they would have had without him. What struck me as more surprising and horrific was his blatant lying to Smith. Something Capote seemed to do with ease. I was not expecting such heartless manipulation. Especially from a man who valued honesty and individuality. Guess the book’s title, as he said, referred to more than the crime after all. As for the movie: spectacularly filmed and an amazing performance by Hoffman. At times I caught myself wondering if they’d inserted preserved stock footage of the real Capote. Catherine Keener was also wonderful as Harper Lee. (Always wondered why Lee never wrote a second novel. The answer might be here.) And Clifton Collins Jr, who several times frightened me with just a look or expression. The only things that I thought should have been included from the book were: the killers emphasizing before they reached the house that they would leave no witnesses (the movie makes it sound unpremeditated) and that among Smith’s last comments, he said he thought he should be allowed to live because he might have something beneficial to offer society. Which is exactly why any murder is wrong.


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