Editor's note: I was so wrong about this film it's almost funny. It probably should've won Best Picture that year.
by Bill Chambers Richard Brooks's masterful screen translation of Truman Capote's true-crime (Tru-crime?) novel In Cold Blood is full of indelible imagery that at first seems to seep into the fabric of Capote beyond director Bennett Miller's control. But as the homages--most notably, both pictures postpone the pivotal slaying of the ominously-named Clutter family until showing it will subvert our expectations most effectively--accumulate and grow increasingly distinct, this tapered biopic begins to feel like a particularly vexing déjà vu. Except for his telltale slackjaw laugh, Philip Seymour Hoffman disappears into the title role, yet the movie is fundamentally superfluous: In presuming to tell the story of In Cold Blood from Capote's point-of-view, it presumes that In Cold Blood wasn't inherently told from Capote's point-of-view. And not only did Brooks's decision to leave the author out of his film as a character not dilute Capote's spurious liberal sympathies, if anything it found them better disseminated than this Dead Man Walking redux does. An early scene of Capote-as-raconteur, which has the electricity of Faces-era Cassavetes, gets one's hopes up, but in retrospect, it only portends Miller's knack for pastiche. PROGRAMME: Special Presentations