Capote is a portrayal of Truman Capote, focusing on his work in creating In Cold Blood. In Cold Blood was the first journalistic novel, taking a true story and adding literary flair to draw you in. It allowed people to fetishize real news. In the film, you see Capote devolve as he creates the masterpiece that makes him famous. Writing the book, getting to know and helping support the murderers killed him… Capote never wrote another book and died an alcoholic. Of course, what is only hinted at in the film is the role that his book had on the living people he portrayed, on the people who were intimately affected by this tragedy. If it weren’t for Capote, the murderers would not have gotten their appeals, a the small town in Kansas would never be infamous, and the people could’ve moved on from the horrors without their lives perpetually being invaded for Capote’s gain. Legacies have a price.
Good Night, and Good Luck is the story of how Edward R. Murrow took on Joseph McCarthy by taking advantage of his privilege as a trusted reporter to offer editorialized reporting in order to reveal the underlying problems of McCarthy’s approach. Murrow took on McCarthy when no one else was willing and many credit him for ending the Red Scare. In doing so, Murrow was accused of being a red, his good friend committed suicide and he almost lost his job at CBS. Yet, there’s a reason why he’s an icon to most journalists – he did what was right. Of course, every ounce of this movie makes you think of contemporary times… (are there any journalists today who would stand up to the current regime?)
Both films portray characters who made a choice to write in a way that frames a story, recognizing that the true facts are only one part. Yet, Capote did it for personal gain at a great cost to both him and the town portrayed. Murrow, on the other hand, did it for what he felt was a moral responsibility. Both realized that the reporter did the framing. And yet, at what cost?
What are the moral responsibilities in reporting? In speaking in public? When we recognize that there is no neutral truth, no fair and balanced anying, everything is framed.. then what? How many more Red Scares can we perpetuate? How many communities can we destroy by fetishizing their losses?