That Double Meaning of ‘In Cold Blood’

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Capote
Directed by Bennett Miller
United Artists & Sony Pictures Classics

 

IN HIS 1965 “non-fiction novel” In Cold Blood, Truman Capote tried to see the world through a grain of sand. But he never considered whether the grain of sand in question—a 31-year-old loner who murdered four innocent people—might resent the writer’s efforts. On the whole, we’re no better: we scrutinize small-town killers, looking for sickness in ourselves; we devour famous writers, searching for our lives in their texts. In Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s masterful portrayal of author Truman Capote vividly conveys the weight of those burdens as part of director Bennett Miller’s cautionary tale of the pleasures and dangers of storytelling.

Capote & Smith
Clifton Collins Jr. (Perry Smith) and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote).

Capote starts in the middle, on a night train in December 1959, with the author on his way to western Kansas to chronicle the murders of a small-town farm family.

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