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Bennett Miller
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper
Writing Credits:
Dan Futterman

In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case.

Box Office:
$7 million.
Opening Weekend
$324.857 thousand on 12 screens.
Domestic Gross
$20.129 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $11.99
Release Date: 10/9/2012

• Audio Commentary With Director Bennett Miller and Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman
• Audio Commentary With Director Bennett Miller and Cinematographer Adam Kimmel
• “Answered Prayers” Featurette
• “Making Capote” Documentary
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Capote [Blu-Ray] (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 10, 2017)

Rather than attempt a full biopic of writer Truman Capote’s life, 2005’s Capote focuses on the research for his famed book In Cold Blood. The movie starts with information about the killing of the Clutter family in Kansas.

Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sees a blurb about this in the newspaper and decides to write his own story. Along with his assistant and long-time friend Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), he heads to Kansas to research the case.

When the authorities bring in the alleged murderers, Capote gets to know them as well. He spends only a little time with Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), as he prefers to focus on intelligent, sensitive Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.) instead.

Capote devotes many hours of discussion to Smith and appears to connect to the killer’s case, though Capote usually seems more interested in his own work. The film follows the writing of the book and complications along the way.

To say the least, Capote doesn’t paint a particularly flattering portrait of its main subject. The movie often captures the writer in open lies, and he manipulates the desires and needs of Smith to his own end. It’s clear he doesn’t really care about people beyond what use they can be to him.

However, this doesn’t mean that Capote offers an unsympathetic look at the author. The film’s epitaph makes it clear how the case negatively affected Capote, and we often see signs of the psychological damage his childhood left with him. Capote isn’t a lovable cad or a cold-hearted jerk; he’s much more complex than that, and we spend much of the movie in an attempt to figure out his personality.

Much of the credit for the film’s depth comes from Hoffman’s outstanding performance as Capote. Given the author’s rather flamboyant personality, it would be easy to turn him into a cheap stereotype.

Capote was the kind of character comedians loved to mimic due to his fey tendencies. Hoffman doesn’t hide those attributes, but he makes sure Capote comes across as more than just a cocktail party bon vivant.

Capote’s inherently restrained personality causes this to be even more difficult than one might expect. Not a character given to big, theatrical outbursts, Hoffman has to portray the role’s emotional depth via small gestures and looks most of the time.

Even Capote’s big crying scene toward the end remains subdued and never milks the pathos of the situation. The subtlety inherent in Hoffman’s performance means that we can better observe the role on its own terms and not through a veil of histrionics.

Director Bennett Miller doesn’t do a lot to expand on the movie’s themes or characters. He knows enough to leave things in Hoffman’s hands and get out of his way.

When folks remember Capote in the future, it likely will be due to Hoffman’s stellar performance more than anything else. He single-handedly makes the movie memorable and effective.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Capote appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Much of the film looked good but some problems emerged.

Some minor issues with sharpness occurred, mainly due to moderate edge haloes. Wide shots tended to be a little fuzzy and lacked the clarity they deserved. Otherwise the movie featured fairly accurate definition, and I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering. Print flaws also remained absent.

A film with a tremendously subdued palette, I found little to discuss in regard to colors. A few shots in Spain opened up the tones, but most of the movie stayed virtually monochromatic. The flick went with a light teal tint much of the time, and within those constraints, the hues seemed fine.

Blacks were dense and deep, while shadows looked acceptably smooth and clean. This was a satisfactory image, but the edge haloes created too many distractions.

Although I found no obvious flaws in the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Capote, it didn’t have many strengths either. However, I didn’t regard the soundfield’s restricted scope as a problem since a drama like this didn’t demand a lively setting.

Most of the audio concentrated on speech. Score showed decent stereo presence, and effects opened up with some mild environmental elements. The surrounds echoed those and did little else.

Audio quality was good. Speech seemed concise and intelligible, and music was similarly solid. The score demonstrated nice range and definition.

Effects were a minor aspect of the track, but they always appeared clean and accurate. This was a perfectly unexceptional mix, but it accomplished its goals.

How did the Blu-ray compare with the original 2006 DVD? Audio showed a bit more breadth, while visuals seemed tighter and smoother. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it improved on the DVD.

The Blu-ray offers the same extras as the DVD, and we find two separate audio commentaries. The first features director Bennett Miller and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. They address the usual assortment of subjects. They discuss casting and performances, sets and locations, adapting real life, changes to the script and cut sequences.

Hoffman provides the best material here with his occasional insights into his work. However, these don’t pop up as often as I’d like, and a lot of the commentary offers little more than banal happy talk.

Miller and Hoffman offer a lot of praise for all involved but they rarely dig deeper than that. There’s some good info on display, so it’s too bad you have to wade through so much nothing to get there.

For the second audio commentary, we hear from Miller and cinematographer Adam Kimmel. They also sit together and present a running, screen-specific discussion. (Screenwriter Dan Futterman was supposed to participate as well, but apparently his wife gave birth hours before the recording session, so he’s absent.)

They touch on many of the same subjects addressed in the first commentary, though with a more technical focus. We hear less about the acting and more about cinematography and other nuts and bolts elements, which seems logical.

This means the commentary occasionally repeats information from the first one. Heck, Miller even makes sure to say “end of act one” at the same point in both!

I must admit I liked this track better than its predecessor, though. Miller recorded it second, so he seems surer of himself. He also interacts more naturally with Kimmel, and this shows throughout the piece.

The second commentary still shows many of the same flaws as the first one, and it doesn’t present a wealth of new info. Nonetheless, it gets into the decision-making behind the film with reasonable depth and stands as the stronger track of the pair.

A featurette called Answered Prayers runs for six minutes, 44 seconds. It presents archival materials, movie snippets and notes from Hoffman, Miller, Kimmel and biographer Gerald Clarke. We also get some old clips of Truman Capote himself.

The show offers a few tidbits about Capote’s life as well as his work on In Cold Blood. This serves as a passable overview but doesn’t present a lot of depth. A meatier biography of Capote would have been much preferable to this quickie.

The two-part Making Capote fills a total of 35 minutes, 41 seconds. We hear from Miller, Hoffman, Kimmel, Clarke, screenwriter Dan Futterman, producers Caroline Baron and William Vince, and actors Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, and Clifton Collins Jr., production designer Jess Gonchor, costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone, and editor Christopher Tellefsen.

Part One covers the participants’ interest in the subject and the construction of the script, casting and performances. Part Two goes over the movie’s visual style, sets and costumes, shooting in Winnipeg, extras, the use of the widescreen ratio, editing, and valedictory thoughts about the production.

“Making” proves quite strong. It focuses on substantial topics and investigates them with clarity and precision.

Like the movie itself, the program lacks flashiness. It shows us the information in a simple, concise way and gives us many good details about the production.

Inevitably, some of these repeat from the commentaries, but the addition of visuals and other speakers ensures that we find plenty of fresh notes. “Making” offers a solid documentary.

I wouldn’t consider Capote to be a great film, but it does boast one stellar performance. Actually, the entire cast works well, but Philip Seymour Hoffman makes the movie memorable all on his own. The Blu-ray presents somewhat messy picture along with decent audio and a reasonably informative set of extras. If for no reason other than to check out Hoffman’s amazing acting, Capote deserves a look.

To rate this film, visit the original review of CAPOTE