Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Water Buffalo

There are times in life when inspiration will take a person to a point with a project that is beyond where they were originally intending where to go. The decision becomes a question then of relevance. Does the new material work with what already exists and does it add anything? Is more gained by going in this direction than by going where the original intention was? These are tough choices, but sometimes they just have to be made.

suitboyskin presented me with a couple more pages worth of Ecology last night. We had discussed the content of the scene the night before, When he wrote it, however, it ended up being much more brutal than either of us had intended it to be. It was completely written in the characters' voices, however, and flowed rather naturally. It means that we're going to have to do a lot more to bring a particular character back from a brink by the end of the film. suitboyskin is convinced that it is possible, I'm not so sure. But the scene that I read last night was so raw and truthful that I knew the end had to work itself out in context of this new piece.

By the way, suitboyskin, sorry about the dozing off last night. I had a lot of work yesterday and was pretty beat.


Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the Abyss, the Abyss gazes also into you.
- Fredrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Everything you've heard about Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is true. His Truman Capote is eerily accurate (surpassing his other "channelling the dead" role of his, Lester Bangs in Almost Famous), and if that had been all he was doing in the role, it would have been enough. As it stands, however, while Capote works as a focused biopic (that is to say, it concentrates on a particular defining event in the character's life, such as Patton), it is a film that is about the disturbing extremes of human capacity. Hoffman not only sells being Truman Capote, with whom the audience is most likely familiar, if from nothing else then at least Murder By Death, but also the harrowing journey the character makes over the course of the film.

Director Bennett Miller quietly draws the audience into the story, and so by the time Truman is at a point when the weight of all of this was upon him, the viewer is with him. The identification that one develops for Capote early on then extends towards the killer Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), an effect that makes the film an extremely intense experience. One would expect that a person as flamboyant as Truman Capote would have yielded a flashier movie, but the film never goes down that easy path, instead anchoring itself to its central drama.

The supporting cast is fantastic. Catherine Keener plays To Kill A Mockingbird scribe Harper Lee, who understands Truman better than anybody else (often even himself). There are also real solid performances from Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban and Marshall Bell. Adam Kimmel's widescreen photography and Mychael Danna's sensitive score focus attention on the drama, so much so that there are moments when one may forget that one is watching a period piece.

One of the interesting things about a project like this is how differently one approaches it than a fiction film. We know going into the film that Capote completes In Cold Blood, but over the course of the film the realization of what it means that he finished the book, and what he had to go through to do so makes the conclusion of the movie all the more acute.

Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.

Ever since I picked up Universal's Hitch box set, Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season 1 and the in-print Criterion Hitchcock films (Notorious, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes), I went after the two out-of-print ones (Spellbound and Rebecca), and then over time picking up other Hitch works such as Lifeboat, Suspicion and To Catch A Thief, I think that the new Hitchcock section of my DVD library is gradually achieving sentience.