This docudrama explores the curious motivation for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” author Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as he immerses himself in the gruesome 1959 murder of an obscure family in Kansas. Capote was enjoying his sophisticated life and reputation as a writer for The New Yorker when a news article about the killings caught his eye. Capote and his friend Nelle Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” travel to Holcomb, Kansas, where he begins to write the book “In Cold Blood.” He convinces the clean-cut Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), one of the convicted killers, to share his journals and eventually discovers that he and Perry share some of the same demons.
The movie, “Capote” chronicles the four years that Truman Capote took to research and write the book that made him famous, “In Cold Blood.” He befriended Perry Edward Smith, one of two convicted murderers of a family of four in a farm house in rural Kansas. He did this so he could gain Smith’s confidence and get all the details for his first-ever non-fiction crime drama. The movie shows a Capote who was so self-centered that his first concern was to delay the hanging of the two men until he was able to extract every vivid detail of the murder from them. Then, when he had all he needed, Capote withheld any further legal assistance so as to hurry the date of their hanging. He wanted release his book by the date promised by his agent. Some people theorize that it was his guilt over these facts that led him to drink heavily.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is truly convincing as the greedy and affected Capote. Since this is an R-rated movie, it comes with the obligatory F-word and a few biblical profanities thrown in for good measure. There are also some gruesome photos of the murdered family members and a hanging. All in all, Capote is a rather mild portrayal of a brutal mass murder; more of a cerebral character study than an action-filled crime drama.