On November 16, 1959, Truman Capote reads about the murder of a Kansas family. There are no suspects. With Harper Lee, he visits the town: he wants to write about their response. First he must get locals to talk, then, after arrests, he must gain access to the prisoners. One talks constantly; the other, Perry Smith, says little. Capote is implacable, wanting the story, believing this book will establish a new form of reportage: he must figure out what Perry wants. Their relationship becomes something more than writer and character: Perry killed in cold blood, the state will execute him in cold blood; does Capote get his story through cold calculation, or is there a price for him to pay? Written by
I saw Capote and I saw Infamous. Infamous captured my impression of "In Cold Blood" when I read it many, many years ago.
When I saw "Capote" I was really impressed by the presentation of the story and the quality of the acting. When I saw "Infamous" today, I was caught up with the story in a way I had not been before. It was closer to the experience when I read the book many,many years ago. "In Cold Blood" is about killing human beings, and I believe that it is no more right for cold blooded murders to do it than for me do do it as a member of society that authorizes the death penalty. I believe that the film as well as the book makes people think about this issue The cast was superb, and I said the same about the earlier rendition, but this time the characters were fully developed and believable under the circumstances. I had been impressed before, but this film is different from the last--it is more emotional, more detailed in rendition of the characters, and more interested in showing not just the destruction of Truman Capote, but in sharing the ideas that he expressed in "In Cold Blood".
When I was growing up (I am 62 now) I recall that I did not like Capote when I saw him on talk shows repeatedly. I really knew nothing of gay culture or what even that meant at the time, so it had nothing to do with the sexual orientation. It had to do with the ego that was constantly expressed and realted to nothing that I really cared about.
But what was incredibly important to me then and now is that we can lose track of the fact that we are all human beings, a point that was stressed in the film. Killers may be killers, but they are us, in a way, filled with some of the same ambitions, hates, emotions that most of us can control. What separates us from them might not be very much, so why do we need to kill them as they jailed their victims? It is easy to kill, but not so easy to try to understand. This film hits an emotional level that the previous film did not. I am pleased that it ultimately was made. I am also pleased that the quality of the performances, the writing and most especially the direction, were so superb. Watch the scene where the farmer speaks only to Harper Lee and not Capote. It is an incredible monologue, but the circumstances are noted.
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