Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost) revisits the infamous Clutter family murders to interrogate the history and the small Kansas town known to the world through Truman Capote’s bestseller In Cold Blood.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2018
In 1959, in a small town in Kansas, farmer Herbert Clutter, his wife Bonnie and their teenage children, Nancy and Kenyon, were savagely murdered. Writer Truman Capote, famous at that point for Breakfast at Tiffany's, visited the town with his friend, the writer Harper Lee. Earning the trust of the murderers – Richard ‘Dick’ Hickock and Perry Smith – he rendered them unforgettably in In Cold Blood, which became an international bestseller and is often cited as the first book in the true crime genre. Director Joe Berlinger, renowned for his investigative documentaries about the West Memphis Three, revisits the case. What do the townsfolk and surviving families of both victims and perpetrators have to say about the murders – and about the indelible account provided in Capote’s book?
“This documentary does what In Cold Blood didn’t or couldn’t do. It presents a genuinely journalistic and very 360-degree look at a crime that shattered a small town, gives equal weight to a panoply of perspectives, and honors the legacy of a family without either glamorizing or dehumanizing the men who shot them for a safe full of money that, as it turned out, didn’t even exist. It’s a stunning panorama that knows it doesn’t need to ‘novelize’ a damn thing…
Respectfully rendered and rich with detail, this documentary event is a must for anyone who wants a deeper look at what happens in the wake of a senseless violent death, especially when the victim or victims catch the eyes of the media.” — Amy Glynn, Paste Magazine