“In Cold Blood” Review
“In Cold Blood” is a tragic story of two men, Eugene Hickock and
Perry Edward, who murder an entire family in search of money and then find
themselves running from the law. While writing the book, Truman Capote
used only facts to create a novel out of an actual event. He had thousands of
notes on the subject, but his problem was making his book read like a novel.
He accomplished this by adding dialogue and describing characters feelings.
This technique is used in the film as well when flashbacks of characters
childhoods are shown.
The different plots are handled very well in the movie. The main plot
obviously is the murders and the run from the law. Other subplots that are
shown are Smith’s internal fight with his past in which his father deserted him,
and at one point, had a gun pointed to his head. Also there appears to be
tension between Smith and Hickock. They think differently at times,
especially when it comes to the discussion of the crime. You can’t help but
feel sympathetic towards Smith, as it appears that he is forced into this by
All characters in the movie were played well by the actors in my
opinion. They all seemed real and seemed to fit in with the setting and the
I think that Hickock and Smith are not victims of forces beyond their
control, they are victims of, at least in Smith’s case, a bad upbringing. The
two murderers have no direction in their lives. The only skills that Hickock
seems to know is how to steal things and how to write phony checks. Smith
seems more sane than Hickock, but all he has is his guitar and that is stolen in
This is reason that these two resort to crime to solve their problems.
The film was very well structured in comparison to the book. Capote
purposely didn’t tell the detailed version of the deaths until the end of the
book, and the same procedure was followed in the movie. This technique is
used to keep the viewer or reader interested throughout the entire story. The
first part of the movie moved a little slowly, but I think this was necessary to
show all the background information about the Cutter family and to show
how the two murderers developed their plan. Once the night of the murders
arrived, the plot moved very quickly and there was lots of suspense to keep
the viewer interested.
At the end of the film, after the hanging of the two murderers , I did not
feel that justice had prevailed. After an entire family has been murdered,
there is no justice because the people are already dead and there is nothing
that can be done to change that. Even though Smith says that he apologizes
for what he has done, it is meaningless because it doesn’t change anything.
One reason the film seems like it was a real event is how the producers
recreate the setting of the late 1950’s in America. Everything is correct from
the social lives of people to the music that was popular in that era. The US is
in a period of transition, and this is shown by the way people react to the
After this crime, people become suspicious of even the closest of their
friends, and they begin to lock their doors at night to prevent more crimes like
Truman Capote became extremely successful as a result of this novel.
I think that it is very similar to novels written today, and if it was published in
the 1990’s, it would be just as successful as it was when it was first published
in 1966. Today big writers such as John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell
could be compared to Capote, but they do not use real world events for their
crime-fiction novels. This is what sets Capote apart from other writers and
makes him one of the great writers in American History.