“In Cold Blood” is ridiculously dark, bleak and emitting a constant resonance of impending doom. Danger is etched upon the faces of the perpetrators, a hollow darkness crosses each of these two young men’s shadows, revealing an evil that can be spontaneously released at any given moment. That fear keeps you glued to your seat, frighten to look and scared to look away. The realisation that this whole film is based on real events just makes the crime all that more heartbreaking when it comes.
With all that gloom though, there is a majestic beauty to this film. The camera work and black and white print is absolute perfection. Every shot hits you with it’s style and every snap shot could fill an art gallery a hundred times over. The skies are vast, the landscapes and dust ridden roads are picturesque and imposing at the same time. Every scene grabs your full attention, every performance has you glued to the screen, every second that ticks away fills you with dread and awe.
I believe this movie is a masterpiece from start to finish. Based on Truman Capote’s 1965 nonfiction book called “In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences” where he writes the story as if it’s a novel but all of the narrative are true factual accounts of the actual crime.
The subject matter and accounts are truly horrific, getting pushed along by such incredible portrayals from both these young men, both in the performances of a lifetime. Robert Blake plays Perry Smith and Scott Wilson is Dick Hickock.
Psychotic Perry keeps daydreaming from nightmarish incidents in his past to surreal dreams of being happy, singing and playing his guitar. Horny and outspoken Dick uses his confidence to get whatever he wants and under that slim exterior is a devilish raw anger.
Hot on their tail is police detective Alvin Dewey (John Forsythe) whose voice you will instantly recognise as the boss of those sexy angelic private eyes, Charlie’s Angels and then later the face of Blake Carrington on Dynasty.
Directed and produced by Richard Brooks who also adapted the screenplay from Capote’s book. You get a gorgeous soundtrack from jazz legend and composer Quincy Jones going from somber pieces to firing on all cylinders, building the tension to a feverish frenzy. And all those beautiful cinematography shots are by Conrad L Hall with sublime fade outs and creative cut shot editing by Peter Zinner.
The language of the time is pretty shocking too, could this be one of the first times in mainstream film that the words “bullshit” “pussy” and “jacking off” were used? Funny as you hear them and worse on a daily basis on just about everything in modern pop culture nowadays but when watching vintage film, it really sticks out.
I’m sure there are documents and essays dedicated to detailing the ins and outs of this incredible film. If it’s something that you haven’t seen and you fancy it, I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s tense, shocking and very controversial but damn it is fine film making of the highest order.
Keep discovering new films, thanks for popping on by and feel free to drop a comment on the film if you wish. All the best… Mikey.
PS Someone’s in my wolf den?!!