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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Capote (2005)

Capote (2005)

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Released 4-Sep-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Bennett Miller (Director) & Philip Seymour Hoffman (Actor)
Audio Commentary-Bennett Miller (Director) & Adam Kimmel (Cinematographer)
Trailer-The Passenger; White Countess; When A Stranger Calls
Trailer-The Da Vinci Code; Ultraviolet
Main Menu Introduction
Featurette-Truman Capote: Answered Prayers (6:43)
Featurette-Making Of-Making Capote Part I: Concept To Script (17:15)
Featurette-Making Of-Making Capote Part II: Defining A Style (18:29)
Dolby Digital Trailer-Space
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 109:32
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:18) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Bennett Miller
SONY Pictures
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Allie Mickelson
Kelci Stephenson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Craig Archibald
Bronwen Coleman
Kate Shindle
David Wilson Barnes
Michael J. Burg
Catherine Keener
Kwesi Ameyaw
Andrew Farago
Ken Krotowich
Chris Cooper
Case ?
RPI $32.95 Music Mychael Danna

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Capote outlines a ten year period in the life of acclaimed writer and New York socialite Truman Capote, in which he authored his most highly regarded work, In Cold Blood. Although the film begins in late 1959, Capote was already an established and highly regarded writer at the time, having penned Breakfast At Tiffany's and many other works. In Cold Blood became one of the greatest pieces of non fiction ever written and was one of the first real true crime novels to bear such a name. The book changed the face of publishing and its inception is covered in this film flawlessly.

    While flicking through the newspaper, Truman's attention is grabbed by a small article about the quadruple murder of a Kansas family in their secluded farmhouse. Based on the small column of text, Truman decides to pursue the story and makes the trek to the small town with the intention of covering the crime in a story for a magazine. Accompanying him on the trip as an assistant is Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), who would later stun the literary world in her own way with To Kill A Mockingbird. Truman meets with Alvin Dewey (Chris Cooper) of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, who is initially cautious regarding Truman to say the least, however he is won over when it is revealed his wife is a fan of Capote's work. After spending some time interviewing the locals, Truman decides to stay in the town until the killers are caught.

    The suspects, Richard Hickcock (Mark Pellegrino) and Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), are soon apprehended and upon meeting them it becomes apparent to Truman that the tragedy has literary potential that extends way beyond a simple article. With his sights set firmly on producing the first true crime novel, he uses his influence to gain full, unrestricted access to the prisoners during their incarceration and lengthy court process. During this time he becomes especially close to Perry, finding that they share a troubled childhood among other similarities. A sentence of death is handed down swiftly, and being a good friend Truman assists the men during several appeals, which only serves to lengthen their jail time and hinder the progress of Truman's novel. Here, in this conflict of interest lies the true conundrum of Capote's increasingly dire situation. He has grown to become great friends with these men and sincerely wants to help them, however at the same time he is brutally aware that without their execution his book will never see the light of day. That could mean four years of hard work down the drain! It really is a terrible situation to be in, and it is the crushing, overwhelming guilt that is shouldered by Capote that is so honestly conveyed in this film.

    Emotionally speaking, In Cold Blood affected Capote so greatly that he never completed another book, his life descending steadily into alcoholism until his unfortunate passing in 1984.

    Capote was a modest production, filmed in a meagre 36 days on a budget that would scarcely cover the catering on many other films. The direction by Bennett Miller is superb and has a ponderous, ballet-like flow that serves to heighten the viewer's sensitivity. Dan Futterman's screenplay is equally intriguing and provides a certain believable, human quality that would be skimmed over by many other screenwriters in my opinion. Without a doubt, the film's greatest attribute is Philip Seymour Hoffman's stunning performance, or should I say transformation, as Truman Capote. Both his voice and demeanour are absolutely spot on and this is made even more uncanny when compared with actual video footage of the man, which can be found in the extra material on this disc.

    If you're a fan of true crime or are keen to witness how Capote's novel came about, this film is a must. As a study of inescapable guilt and unlikely friendships, the film is indispensable. I recommend it very highly.

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Transfer Quality


    This video transfer is not nearly as good as I was expecting.

    The film has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    The image is nice and sharp throughout, however some jagged edges are visible at times. Shadow detail is great and the film's dark, shadowy scenes situated in many smoky clubs and rooms are carried realistically.

    The film contains a deliberately muted palette, as explained in the making of featurette. Artistically, the appearance of the film is fantastic and succeeds in conveying the right emotions at the right time. The only scenes that I noted with especially bold colouring are during Capote's break at the Costa Brava in Spain. These scenes contain glimpses of deep blues and greens that are not seen in the rest of the film. As a whole, the film's colour scheme is carried well and there are no inconsistencies or faults to speak of.

    There is a slight edginess to the image at times that I can only attribute to edge enhancement. I found it a little distracting as it made the image look as though it had been tampered with during the transfer.

    MPEG compression artefacts are evident in a lot of scenes, appearing as grain around objects and titles. The opening shot of the wheat blowing in the breeze is a good example, as well as the detail of the tree branches at 12:10. As far as the film source is concerned, I would not be surprised if this transfer was derived from a theatrical print. A mild amount of film grain is visible and this is consistent with my recollections of seeing the film in a cinema, however there is way too much dust and dirt present. The dirty specks appear to be concentrated at certain points of the film, which may be reel changes, but the fact remains that this is a pretty shameful presentation for such a new film.. The specks do vary in size and are positive and negative in nature. Some of the especially large ones appear on characters' faces, which is particularly distracting. I also noted minor telecine wobble in the transfer. Due to the slow, ponderous pace of the direction (one of the film's many attributes) the instability in the film source is pretty obvious on a big screen, as evidenced particularly in the opening and closing credits.

    Optional English subtitles are provided for the feature in both standard and Hearing Impaired forms. I viewed more than half of the feature with subtitles enabled and found them to be easy to read and accurate to the spoken word. All of the extras are also subtitled in English, including the two commentaries. There are some titles burned into the video stream such as dates and locations, and these are consistent with my recollections of seeing the film in the cinema.

    This disc is dual layered (DVD9 formatted), with a layer transition placed during the feature at 76:18. This is a pretty good placement between scenes, in a still and silent moment that should pass by unnoticed by most viewers.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, two of which are audio commentaries featuring the film's Director. The default soundtrack is the film's original English audio, presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The English dialogue is always distinct and easy to discern in the audio mix. Most of the accents are well spoken and not too drawly, so I didn't have any issues with the dialogue. The film's ADR is completely seamless and natural, while the audio sync is perfect.

    The surround channels don't appear to be utilised at all. During the film I didn't notice any rear activity, be it score or atmospherics. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel throughout the film, while the front left and right channels carry Foley effects and atmospheric noises.

    The score by Mychael Danna is simple, melodic and piano based, and suits the atmosphere of the film superbly. The soundtrack is also peppered with songs from the period by artists such as Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.

    Like the surround channels, the subwoofer isn't given anything to do. There aren't a great deal of opportunities to use the LFE channel in a film such as this, but I suppose some effect could have been used during gunfire and the like.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    When the disc is inserted a Sony Pictures logo plays, followed by an anti-piracy advertisement that can be skipped or fast-forwarded manually. Prior to playback of the feature, my Denon showed a still image of a strange Hindi language ratings certificate that I have never seen on a Region 4 DVD before. I couldn't replicate the experience on any other player or computer, which is very strange. As I mentioned above, English subtitles are included on all of the extra material. None of the featurettes are 16x9 enhanced.


    The main menu page is preceded by a short introduction and is accompanied by the clicking of a typewriter. The page transitions are particularly nice, and a play all option is available for the featurettes. The subtitle menu mistakenly lists Screenwriter Dan Futterman as a participant in the second audio commentary, explained below. All of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Space

    There is more surround activity in these few seconds than in the entire film that follows.

Audio Commentary - Bennett Miller (Director) & Philip Seymour Hoffman (Actor)

    This is a very low-key commentary, with the two gents discussing the pace of the film and the sequence in which certain scenes were shot. Hoffman was granted certain liberties with the character and judging by their comments they were not fully prepared when shooting began, which led to an uncomfortable first couple of days while everyone found their feet. There are frequent pauses in the discussion, however the guys share enough anecdotes from the production to keep the commentary interesting.

Audio Commentary - Bennett Miller (Director) & Adam Kimmel (Cinematographer)

    This commentary was originally to have included Screenwriter Dan Futterman, however his absence is explained early on. Kimmel explains how certain angles were established and shares a few anecdotes from the production. Miller goes a little more in-depth, discussing the intense editing process. Quite a bit of the information conveyed here was already delivered in the previous commentary, but from a filmmaking perspective it is certainly worthwhile.

Featurette- Truman Capote: Answered Prayers (6:43)

    Capote's biographer, Gerald Clarke, talks us through his experiences with Capote and how he believes the events of In Cold Blood affected the rest of his life. Hoffman and Miller also add their knowledge of Capote's huge reputation.

Featurette- Making Capote Part I: Concept To Script (17:15)

    Director Bennett Miller and Screenwriter Dan Futterman explain how the project came about, the casting process and how they prepared for shooting. Gerald Clarke praises Futterman's screenplay and some of the script's cut scenes are discussed. Quite a bit of attention is paid to Hoffman's performance and those of the other key actors, focusing on some of the film's key scenes. Several of the film's producers also contribute.

Featurette- Making Capote Part II: Defining A Style (18:29)

    Director Bennett Miller discusses how he decided upon the film's style and how the film's budget drove some of these decisions, with contributions from Production Designer Jess Gonchor and Cinematographer Adam Kimmel. This featurette also looks at the editing process and some of the locations that were used, in particular the Clutter family's house, and some of the wardrobe decisions that affected the look of the film.

Trailers (5)

    Trailers are included for the lost classic The Passenger, Merchant-Ivory's White Countess, the recent remake of When A Stranger Calls, Ron Howard's vision of The Da Vinci Code and Milla Jovovich in the very Matrix-esque Ultraviolet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from the usual PAL / NTSC differences, the specifications of this title appear to be identical across the globe.


    Capote is a stunning film. The storytelling, performances and production are second to none and it is certain to be remembered for many years.

    The video transfer contains artefacts that point to MPEG overcompression and a dirty source print.

    The audio mix is completely frontal, but does the job.

    The extras are a little brief, but are interesting and pertinent to the feature.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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