starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins, Jr., Chris Cooper
screenplay by Dan Futterman, based on the novel by Gerald Clarke
directed by Bennett Miller
by Walter Chaw You hear him before you see him: Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman), raconteur, socialite, showman, standing at the centre of the kind of swinging party immortalized in the glossy, offensive film version of his Breakfast at Tiffany's. He's telling a story in a claustrophobic storm of admirers, his reedy, almost-falsetto voice broken now and again by his wheezing, self-conscious laugh. He's flirting with his own persona, I think (Hoffman, not Capote), and the tiny moments I'm able to see through the barrage of misdirection thrown up by screenwriter Dan Futterman and director Bennett Miller (all three old friends--the film plays smug like an exclusive reunion) to strike at the heart of Hoffman's own situation as a sensitive soul trapped in the body of a second fiddle (Kevin Smith syndrome--or, more flatteringly, Charles Laughton), are the moments Capote means something to me beyond another exhumation of the Clutter Family murders already chronicled (and exploited twice already by Capote's In Cold Blood and Richard Brooks's magnificent film treatment of the same) and mythologized. It's as Americana as Grant Wood, marking this tiny Kansas landscape with the same brush as Ed Gein's Wisconsin--and making Capote sexy in a ghoulish way when it fails to be sexy in a revelatory way.