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Movie Review: Capote

Alternate Title: What's the Matter With Kansas?

Story: The 1959 murders of four members of the Kansas Clutter family not only riveted the nation, but ultimately changed the nature of non-fiction work thanks to the brilliance of Truman Capote.

This must-see film chronicles Capote's fascination with the case that started as an article for the New Yorker Magazine but ended up as the seminal non-fiction novel 'In Cold Blood'.

The film is based on the novel by Gerald Clark and marvelously scripted by Dan Futterman ( you might remember him as the brother in TV's Judging Amy). First time director Bennett Miller does an exemplary job of letting talent and drama take the lead.

How and why Capote got involved in this real life story after writing fluff like Breakfast at Tiffany's is the core of this film. How art changed his raconteur life, why he never was the same after this event, and what effect this novel had on the world of literature is something that lovers of film and books should not miss.

Acting: Philip Seymour Hoffman is more than terrific. The character of Truman Capote could so easily have played as cartoon but his talent would not allow that to happen. He became Truman Capote and gave this film grace. A fine ensemble cast with Catherine Keener as Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird), Chris Cooper as the Kansas investigator, Bruce Greenwood as Jack Dunphy, Capote's boyfriend and Clifton Collins, Jr. as Perry Smith, one of the murderers.

Predilection: I liked the book In Cold Blood.

Theater Audience: A pretty crowded house.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I only drifted when I remembered how I felt when I drove across country in 1966 shortly after reading In Cold Blood. I could not sleep in Kansas and was wary the whole time.

Oscar Worthy: I hear Oscar for Hoffman and perhaps for this terrific screenplay.

Big Screen or Rental: Hoffman's performance warrants the big screen as soon as possible. For some of his other performance, try renting: Cold Mountain, ,25th Hour, Punch-Drunk Love, Almost Famous, State and Main, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Magnolia, Flawless, Happiness, The Big Lebowski, Next Stop Wonderland and Boogie Nights.

Length: 100 minutes