Wow! What a great film. Partly satire, partly murder-mystery, partly biopic, it works successfully across genres and on different levels (much like life really). It’s about the life of the novellist Truman Capote, who investigated a real life crime in order to write his ground-breaking novel (the first ‘true crime’ book) In Cold Blood.
When the police finally capture the murderers, Capote conducts a series of interviews in prison with the two men in order to capture their characters and motivations faithfully for the book. He forms a close relationship with one of the killers (Perry Smith – played with wonderful intensity by Daniel Craig, slightly reprising the sort of role he played in the Francis Bacon biopic opposite Derek Jacoby) as we wait for the courts to decide whether the killers will be sentenced to death. The moral dilemma that all but destroys the writer is this: his affection for Perry means he does not want to see him executed, but his incomplete novel requires the execution if there is to be a suitably dramatic resolution.
Just as writing the novel entirely consumed Capote’s intellectual life for 5 years, so Perry Smith entirely consumed Capote’s emotional life. The end of the film is truly moving. Capote’s novel In Cold Blood made him America’s most successful writer, but he never wrote another book.
I’m gonna give the movie 10/10. I recommend that even luddites give it a go. And Sandra Bullock plays Nell, the author of To Kill a Mocking Bird, really well and proves she can act.