Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Here we have a film legendary for its central performance. Indeed, Philip Seymour Hoffman's turn as the peculiar author is the stuff of myth, an astonishing, revolutionary bit of acting. But Bennett Miller's film itself deserves some props of its own. Capote is a taut, elegant work of cinematic expression. The film taunts with its suggestions of impending perversion, but surprises with a restrained kind of epic scope that never sinks into tabloid sensationalism. Amazingly, Capote is a quiet film about murder and the obsession of intellect.

New to DVD, Capote arrives with the usual suspects of special features including multiple commentary tracks and several documentaries. But the commentary with Miller and Hoffman stands as one of the most intelligent and enlightening in a very long while. Rather than being merely anecdotal (a lame mainstay of so many DVD commentary tracks), Hoffman and Miller give surprising insight into the processes behind bringing such an ambitious film to the big screen with so little help from the outside.

Capote is a major work.