In Cold Blood
IMHO, PS Hoffman did an amazing portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote. The film weaves the storyline of this book, In Cold Blood, arguably his best work, throughout. Even if you know the plot, the logisitics of the arduous fact-gathering, the ending and you've formulated an opinion on the matter, still, I encourage you to read this. Why? Its difficult to grasp the full genius of this author without reading him. At least that is the conclusion I reached after finishing this book, my first Capote read.
Capote wielded his pen like an extension of his mind, a beautiful, poetic mind it was. He could find beauty in the oddest of things, like Western Kansas. I've been to Western Kansas, many times, usually en route from Denver to some other place. I could only describe it as hundreds of miles of never-changing, mind-numbing beigeness. But Capote's dreamlike, carefully delivered description almost makes me want to see it again, through his eyes. Almost.
You have to admire the dedication Capote had to follow this sensational story to the end, a story that spanned many years. To get to know the family and friends of the slain family, to infiltrate the minds of two murderers, to know them better than they knew themselves, to unearth the psychology, to sew it all together in a cohesive and consumable manner. To watch these men hang from the neck until dead.
Capote had more than just a writing style, he had a rhythm. At the end of each section, usually written in the voice of a character, were one or two lines that were uncharacteristically short and nonchalantly delivered. These several lines punctuated the tone of the story like a sledgehammer on china.
I finished the book in a day, its that riveting. Then, as I usually do, I rented the movie. Curiosity, really, I just wanted to see if the images Capote painted in my mind were compatible with the film-maker's. Usually I am disappointed in the film, however, not this time.
In Cold Blood, the movie, was great. I loved the 1960's time capsule. Filmed in black and white, great black-turtleneck, finger-snapping, heavily-cymablled, hep cat jazz music, everyone in suits and ties. And hats, noone wears hats anymore. Don't forget the cars, those big lumbering, road-hogging metal people movers. Big shinny grills and wicked back fins, looking like serial killers on four wheels.
Robert Blake, of the I-swear-I-didn't-have-my-wife-murdered Blake's, stars as Perry Smith. I think we could call this retro-irony. I have to say, he was very convincing as the tortured killer with the dubious upbringing. Really, the best role of his career.
In other Capote-related news, Infamous, another film dissecting the Capote-Smith relationship, hits the mainstream in October.
In Cold Blood