I was telling my brother how much I enjoyed CAPOTE on the AIM and he said something to the effect of “there will be a oscar for the fat faggy”. Such a crude way to speak of the best actor of the Aughts: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. A little respect here bro. Anyway I’m not going to go into plot details or the real life subject matter because 1.) You can read any review to get that stuff and 2.) this movie is more about emotions or lack of them than details. IN COLD BLOOD (1967) was from the killers point of view and romanticized them in Brando fashion while keeping a disturbing point-by-point attention to accuracy. Catherine Keener does a good job as Harper Lee, Chris Cooper is again solid, and Clifton Collins as Perry Smith picks the right note to play all the way down death row.
Now that it is the season for a higher quality supposedly Oscar-worthy fare like CAPOTE, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE among others one has to mourn the loss of the all the Deuce Bigalows and movies based on 70’s TV shows. Sigh. They’ll be back next summer I bet.
THE INTERPRETER (Dir. Sydney Pollack)
This came out last summer and failed to make a splash. I watched it on DVD this last week and could see why. Not that it is outright horrible just pretty bad. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn (once again humorless as Hell) look like movie stars and aren’t convincing as their characters, particularly not with Kidman’s accent or always perfect hair. Catherine Keener as Penn’s Secret Service partner has very little to do. There are so many lamely plotted sequences and laughable conveniences that any element of suspense or actual sentiment is in vain. Pity too.
Pollack has made a number of fine films – a much better political thriller of his was THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975). Honestly though Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway looked like movie stars in that too. Maybe the only thing worth seeing on the DVD is a bonus feature about his choice of the widescreen format over full frame: Sydney Pollack: "I'm making a plea for my colleagues and myself who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to tell you the story in the best possible way visually and then someone else has to come in and cut the edges off of all of that and pan and scan it so you're not seeing what story we tried to tell you."
Pollack once brought a lawsuit on a Danish TV station for how that pan and scanned one of his films - "mutilated it" he said. To fight to preserve the full visual imagery of one's art is a pretty cool stance - too bad THE INTERPRETER is not.