Monday, April 03, 2006

Oscar Robbery

After finally having the chance to see "Capote" on DVD this weekend, I find myself disagreeing with many Oscar watchers and arm chair critics. It was not "Brokeback Mountain" that was robbed of "Best Picture" by "Crash", it was "Capote".

"Brokeback" was good, it was ground breaking and had some great moments. As I have digested the movie, I realize I came away disappointed. Maybe director Ang Lee's Asian sensibility got in the way, but I missed the grit and fire, the sense of inevitable doom the "love is a force of nature" that Annie Proulx short story accomplished so economically. Yes, "Brokeback" went on a bit too long. Yes, I just didn't see the fire and passion between the men. We certainly did not need Norma Desmond histrionics but maybe a bit more emotion would have went a long way. The boys were a bit too pretty, too cold. Ennis' deadpan emotions wore on you during the movie. His emotional outbursts were confusing rather than demonstrative of the slow fire consuming him.

"Capote" was better than both "Crash" and "Brokeback" in my opinion. The movie never flagged, never lost focus. Phillip Seymour Hoffman deserved his "Best Actor" award, he was brilliant. The mostly unknown supporting cast was great. The cinematography was excellent, capturing the bleakness of the western Kansas town of Holcomb. The slow unfolding of the relationship between Capote and Perry Smith, one of the killers, was spellbinding. The moral dilemma of his relationship to a man he understood ("it almost seems like we came from the same family, I went out the front door and he went out the back") and the ambition to see his book finished is vividly and sympathetically portrayed.

Some one said "Brokeback" will be subject of discussion long after "Crash" is forgotten. I feel even more strongly about "Capote". It is a timeless story and an outstanding movie.

No comments: