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Oliver Twist vs Truman Capote


I was trying to explain to a friend what my problem was with Oliver Twist, Roman Polanski's latest effort which screened today at the Toronto International Film Festival. "It's really well made. Great acting. Ben Kingsley deserves an Oscar (but won't get one) for his turn as Fagan." But 6 films into my journey at this year's TIFF, it's the only film I wouldn't watch twice. Why? The plot.

The caveat to all this is that I'm simply not an Oliver Twist kinda guy. The story - and Roman Polanski's version is a faithful adaptation - just doesn't really do it for me. In contrast, I'm gaga for my favourite film I've seen this year - at TIFF or otherwise - which is Capote, a look into 4 years or so of the life of Truman Capote while he researched and wrote the non-fiction novel In Cold Blood, one of the most acclaimed works of literature of the 20th century.

Instead of Polanski's London, Capote flip flops between the parties and literary world of 60's Manhattan and the bleak winters of small town Kansas. It reminds me most of 2000's Pollock, from the exceptional acting to the likely outcome that it will gain only a small, but very enthusiastic audience at the multiplexes. Philip Seymour Hoffman should (and might) win an Academy Award and supporting actor Clifton Collins Jr. delivers a breakthrough performance.

Before the start of the film, someone told how when the TIFF organizers watched an unfinished cut of Capote a couple of months ago, they unanimously agreed "now that's a movie". It sure was.


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