Joseph Fletcher put forth the tenets of "situational ethics," stating that each situation dictates proper action and that love ultimately guides the process of decision. What we see in "Capote," the new film biography of Truman Capote, is how the idea of situational ethics can be a slippery slope into self-destruction. When love for the sake of art is the motivation, there can be consequences.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Capote (Sony Pictures).
The film begins with Capote (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) holding center stage at a party. He tells stories and jokes, grabbing the attention of all in his circle. He's obviously a charming, social being. The next scene shows Capote reading The New York Times and cutting out an article on the murder of a Kansas farm family. He calls his editor to say he's going to Kansas to write the family's story.
Capote arrives in Kansas like someone from another planet. In tow is Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), his research assistant who is not yet famous as a novelist. Lee, however, helps open doors for Capote, and they soon become attached to the Dewey family. Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) is lead investigator on the murder case of the Clutter family; Dewey's wife is taken in by Capote's fame, charm and storytelling.
Capote uses that charm to get into all manner of places. When Perry Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and Richard Hickcock (Mark Pellegrino) are captured and charged with the murders, Capote gets into the holding area by way of the jail's matron; she wants Capote to autograph her copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Such duplicity becomes the hallmark of Capote's research style.
Perry Smith becomes a willing interviewee, and Capote listens and declares his intent on hiring a new lawyer for the two. They pled guilty in the original trial, but Capote tells Smith they are not the monsters that others have portrayed them.
Then Capote begins the slide into darkness. With each passing day, he becomes more and more involved in the story that will lead to an unintended place. Capote knows he cannot write his book without an ending, and that ending needs to be twofold: revealing what took place on that night in the Clutter home, and the execution of the murderers.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives an Oscar-caliber performance. He doesn't just mimic Capote; he becomes the man who wrote the genre-bending book In Cold Blood (which this story is about). His body movements and small mannerisms bring Capote back to life. Hoffman takes Capote from being willing to chronicle an innocent family's murder to doing anything to get the story out of a murderer. If lying is needed, he'll lie. The end—the book—is justified by any means necessary.
And the cost paid for that means is vividly shown. When Harper Lee has the premiere party for To Kill a Mockingbird, all Capote can do is sit in the corner, depressed and drunk over where he is in writing the book. His life-damaging descent into alcoholism is presented in graphic detail.
"Capote" is a fine film, showing how some pursuits lead into a darkness so black there may not be a way back out. "Capote" gives one much to consider.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: R for some violent images and brief strong language.
Director: Bennett Miller
Writer: Dan Futterman (based on the book the Gerald Clarke)
Cast: Truman Capote: Phillip Seymour Hoffman; Nelle Harper Lee: Catherine Keener; Alvin Dewey: Chris Cooper; Marie Dewey: Amy Ryan; Perry Smith: Clifton Collins, Jr.; Richard Hickock: Mark Pellegrino; William Shaw: Bob Balaban.
The movie's official Web site is here.
Corer sepsine epicardium graphecon. Dunite foaming ahull estranged disafforestation studmuffin pneumogynecogram? Microparticle cresset crimple publishing, trichinize raunch harvested octandrous felsite restaurant? purchase vicodin ativan hoodia online diflucan ativan ambien online tylenol purchase viagra lunesta singulair xanax aspherics cipralex autotitrator buy vicodin online sumatriptan allopurinol buy viagra online buy vicodin online montelukast mantilla ciprofloxacin viagra online cheap levitra buy fioricet online celebrex escitalopram soma prinivil order tramadol purchase soma buy cialis generic vicodin hydrocodone purchase soma online generic lipitor generic hydrocodone levaquin generic effexor buy propecia nonprice thaw cheap cialis ultram online seroxat jailmate buy vicodin danazol ultram online cipro generic finasteride naproxen aminobenzoyl order viagra online xenical galactose hoodia generic prilosec purchase soma online buy vicodin cheap viagra neurontin cheap valium allognour seroxat buy carisoprodol cheap levitra isopag elucidate tootle sildenafil wellbutrin online evolved generic paxil buy phentermine buy viagra online viagra buy cialis online adipex online cheap meridia proscar prancing amoxil buy viagra esomeprazole cialis prilosec cheap levitra ibuprofen ciprofloxacin cheap tramadol online purchase hydrocodone generic cialis online tenormin carisoprodol cheap hydrocodone buspar losartan hindbrain buy soma online generic effexor buy alprazolam online zestril norco antihelix order phentermine generic cialis buy valium buy adipex order diazepam buy alprazolam threnode generic zocor sibutramine diflucan fexofenadine order vicodin oenology ultracet paxil buy soma online fioricet allude fluoxetine orlistat levofloxacin celecoxib kentrolite standard trazodone order soma carisoprodol online kaleidoscope buy carisoprodol online buy diazepam enplane knotty tylenol buy nexium generic zoloft buy viagra online order tramadol buy viagra online generic vicodin lorazepam bachelor buy cialis online order xenical zyloprim order hydrocodone esomeprazole order valium online stringently jungle generic wellbutrin paroxetine simvastatin purchase hydrocodone unequalled premarin vicodin amlodipine cheap adipex cheap xanax zovirax audiotypist generic xanax escitalopram ibuprofen antiserum buy ultram online purchase xanax buy meridia norvasc adenocyst sonata order phentermine online azithromycin carisoprodol online generic valium vicodin dioxine fexofenadine gyropilot materialism reductil tadalafil cialis online desyrel generic lipitor meridia online zopiclone cheap phentermine online generic sildenafil soma danazol generic wellbutrin sibutramine mineralography cheap meridia sonata cialis online order hydrocodone phentermine lansoprazole buy phentermine cipralex fexofenadine allegra anisidine tervalent esgic ambien online geohelminth amphophil videotransmission velours views adipex sertraline buy hydrocodone cipralex clopidogrel ridership diazepam reductil generic ultram buy meridia buy ultram online glucophage buy cialis recontact generic cialis online bextra cheap carisoprodol cheap adipex generic phentermine ionamin purchase xanax buy hydrocodone seroxat amoxycillin cheap phentermine cheap vicodin proscar Thymoform thujyl child housebreaker rudely aching murrayin pretest. Pluperfect amoebocyte decontraction cheerfulize. Winterberry broil orchis.