Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor, this cannot be questioned. Whether leading a small film in the likes of Synecdoche New York, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and the Savages, outshining the rest of an ensemble cast in Magnolia, Boogie Nights, the Boat that Rocked and the Talented Mr. Ripley or chewing the scenery as the bad guy in a big screen blockbuster like Mission Impossible 3, he always sinks completely into his characters, be they good-natured yet uncouth storm chasers, an intimidating phone-sex supervisor/mattress salesman or an outspoken rock journalist. With Hoffman’s acting ability in little doubt, it’s a wonder this film was made, as other than showcasing his talent for inhabiting the persona of another individual, there is little to recommend for this drab, largely plot-less offering .
Hoffman plays acclaimed writer Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), visiting a small town to document the aftermath of a murder for a magazine. Fascinated with the case, and even more so by one of the convicted killers, he expands his piece to become the last book he ever finished, In Cold Blood. The only real narrative drive is that of the court proceedings and Truman writing his book, interspersed with various parties and conversations with his friend Harper Lee (Catherine Keener) as she herself achieves publication and film adaptation of her own seminal novel To Kill A Mockingbird, but what the film lacks in purpose it makes up for in performances.
Choose life 5/10