Sunday, February 26, 2006

"More Tears Are Shed Over Answered Prayers Than Unanswered Ones."

So reads the epigraph of Truman Capote's last (unfinished) work.

It's a suitable capstone to "Capote". As I mentioned in my post on the first half of the GNGL/Capote double feature, this movie is fantastic.

The two things I want to mention are this: P.S. Hoffman is a genius. At no point after he starts speaking is it anything but 'Truman Capote' on the screen. It is never 'P.S. Hoffman playing Truman Capote.' Of the major American actors working today, the only one who similarly disappears into a role is, to my mind, Tom Hanks. Washington, Pacino, Freeman, you are always aware of the actor...acting. For what it's worth, I'm even more aware of this for female actors, especially the 'playing ugly for an Oscar' move. Or, as I will now refer to it, The Theron.

The second matter is violence. I find it curious that people get upset with the literally cartoonish violence of Kill Bill I or the Evil Dead series. Much harsher I find the realistic, personal violence both shown and implied in films like "One False Move." The most disturbing scene, for me, in "Saving Private Ryan" was not the Normandy Beach sequence, but the knife fight. I'm not sure I've been able to watch that scene straight through since the first time I saw the move.

My point is this, "Capote" at one point transposes shocking, graphic depictions of the murders with the psychological and emotional violence done to the killers by Capote in his self-serving machinations. I think the tole taken is best illustrated by the way Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr. got robbed for no "Best Supporting" nomination) meets his execution with dignity and a degree of calm, going so far as to shake the hand of the Sheriff, telling him "Good to see you" on his way to the gallows. It is not the calm of a sociopath, rather one who has accepted his sins and is ready to go. By comparison, Capote is a shattered man, drinking himself to death over the guilt of what he done to two convicted men, living proof of the aphorism "be careful what you wish for..."

Pooh's View: Top class, in that Mystic River, "I want to hang myself now" way.

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