So how does this new film about Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood compare with Bennett Miller’s Oscar-winning Capote? It’s not as good, but this sentiment comes with a massive caveat as writer/director Douglas McGrath has created an entirely different beast, one which is more in keeping with Hollywood’s favoured three-act structure.
Whereas Philip Seymour Hoffman played Capote with a dark resonance, Toby Jones’ interpretation sees Capote starts off as a much more flamboyant and happy personality. In the second act with Capote questioning the murder suspects in their cells his Capote becomes less sure of himself until, in the final denouement, he is mentally crushed by the executions of Perry Smith (Daniel Craig) and Dick Hicklock (Lee Peace).
The diminutive Jones was born to play Capote and his inimitable interpretation of the writer is every bit as good as Hoffman’s. Unfortunately the film contains an all-star cast of rare anaemia. Playing Harper Lee Sandra Bullock is no Catherine Keener; Daniel Craig falls woefully short as Perry Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow and Sigourney Weaver are on cruise control. The cracks are made all the more clear with last year’s Capote still fresh in the memory.