You wouldn’t be at fault for assuming Capote is a biopic about the life of famed writer Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Thankfully, though, you would be mistaken.

Capote the movie is indeed about Capote the man. But it’s also about Richard Hickock (Mark Pellegrino) and Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), the two killers whose small-town crime inspired a book, In Cold Blood, that launched its author both to new occupational heights and straight into a wind tunnel of self-absorption, depression and futility.

Hoffman’s eerie possession of Capote’s spirit is indeed worthy of the Oscar he just added to his trophy case, but it’s the film’s ability to eschew the usual biopic tricks and really home in on good stuff that makes it so engrossing. Much like the book around which this story is told, Capote is good fiction that just so happens not to be fiction at all. Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper and Bruce Greenwood also star.

Extras: Two director commentaries (one with Hoffman), two-part making-of feature, short Capote feature.

Grade: A