Capote / in Cold Blood Set
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CAPOTE Famed author Truman Capote befriends two murderers while researching his celebrated book "In Cold Blood" - and finds himself changed to the core. IN COLD BLOOD The powerful true story of a callous murder from the minds of the criminals who performed it. Based on Truman Capote's best-selling novel.
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"In Cold Blood" is one of the great crime films ever made. Stunning in every department - acting, photography, editing, score - Richard Brooks' film of Truman Capote's true crime book pulls off the near impossible by building to what is still one of the most deeply disturbing scenes of murder ever filmed, yet still making us question the sanity of the death penalty, even in the face of the grossest outrages against human decency. And takes two of the most unredeemable characters, and yet makes us - at moments - understand, and even sympathize. A film that will give you nightmares and also make you think.
"Capote" is Bennett Miller's highly intelligent biographic drama of the brilliant writer who created "In Cold Blood", and tells the story of how Capote came to write the book and how deeply the process of getting to know these killers effected him. The always brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman gave what may have been the greatest of all his screen performances. On the exterior level he completely transforms himself into Capote - the look, the voice, the mannerisms. But this is far more than a stunt of imitation. He captures the soul of the man tormented by moral dilemmas with no answers, compelled as an artist to keep moving forward, but aware of how much the process was costing him. Catherine Keener also does superb work as Capote's long time friend, the novelist Harper Lee ('To Kill a Mockingbird'). Keener is one of those actresses whose work is so subtle and natural that it's easy to overlook just how terrific she is. And here she gets to go further afield from her usual on-screen persona than usual, and reminds us that she can go a lot further into a character than she's often called to.
It's a deeply thoughtful double bill - a classic interpretation of a classic book, and an insightful, brilliantly done look into the creation of that book.
The two films are on separate blu-rays, so they are not over-compressed, as putting them on one disc would have done. And while this earlier transfer of the more visually spectacular "In Cold Blood" isn't quite up to Criterion's amazing new version, it's still very good indeed. For the current asking price of about $6, that's an amazing buy on two important and great pieces of cinema.
I was extremely saddened by the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Knowing that I will never see another brilliant performance by him. I know it sounds selfish but he had such a gift that he gave millions of people.