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  Publicity Stills of "Infamous"
Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films

Genre: Drama/Biography
Director: Douglas McGrath
Starring: Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Peter Bogdonovich, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, Juliet Stevenson, Sigourney Weaver
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: M18 (Some Mature Content)
Official Website: http://www.infamousmovie.com

Opening Day: 24 May 2007


"Infamous" follows the dangerous quest for artistic greatness chosen by Truman Capote (Toby Jones), accompanied by lifelong friend and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Nelle Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock), as he travels to Kansas to investigate the brutal murder of the Clutter family. Throughout this six year journey, the eccentric, hilarious and cunning Truman Capote is definitively revealed: to satisfy his insatiable ambition. "Infamous" is a compelling study of the complex and tortured relationship that resulted between Truman Capote and convicted murderer Perry Smith (Daniel Craig), a bond formed in a prison cell that brought the destruction of Capote’s career, as well as his soul.

Movie Review:

Divisiveness was always going to rear its disfigured head as soon as “Infamous” started to make the rounds a year after Philip Seymour Hoffman lifted his Oscar for Best Actor in recognition of an exceedingly swollen and mannered performance as Truman Capote in “Capote”. Both films centre on similar events, similar scenes and similar contrivances that led to Capote’s celebrated non-fiction novel, “In Cold Blood”. Set in the late '50s to mid-'60s, this very crucial period in Capote’s life has been postulated as a milestone that marked the rest of his life as a tortured artist.

If Hoffman’s Capote is observed upon as a study on precise technique, then Toby Jones’s naturally impish, and lively performance of the man succinctly captures the disparate essences of both films. “Capote” being the dourer, intellectually stimulating sibling while “Infamous” fleets by initially with warmth and ultimately anchors itself with a frank consideration for Capote’s emotional capacities and hidden vulnerabilities. Douglas McGrath’s “Infamous” explores the Faustian tones existing in Capote’s final bargain in trading his soul for his greatest opus with a certain sense of gallantry missing from “Capote” by emphasising the despair of soulnessness rather than just leading up to what initiates its disintegration.

And as the comparisons keep on rolling, the tonally confident “Capote” does include a showy bravura of supporting performances, notably from Catherine Keener’s Harper Lee. Her counterpart, Sandra Bullock adds another layer to Capote’s confidante by painting her with solemn weariness, a tortured writer and on a more understated level, as her closest friend’s keeper and peer. Daniel Craig’s pre-Bond foray as the convicted murderer, Perry Smith incorporates further complexities into his poetic brute and the unlikely attachment that grows between Capote and himself. As far as fictionalised novelisation goes, “Capote” reserves a great deal more liberties than “Infamous” posits in the quiet moments between conflicted writer and the dead man walking. It all but spells out the sexual dynamics at the heart of Smith’s tenderly vicious brawny presence in the tiny jail cell recounting his experiences with the diminutive and enthralled Capote.

While both films succeed on the levels it sets out to be and both possessing rarely seen strengths, “Infamous” achieves something in its intrinsic sadness that “Capote” did not comprehend in its brooding, achingly devastating mood piece. This one builds a fuller, more personable hypothesis of Truman Capote, highlighting his flaws and weaknesses suggesting a greater significance on the person rather than on the circumstances surrounding him.

Movie Rating:

(An emotionally driven companion piece to “Capote” that adds to complexities of the writer)

Review by Justin Deimen


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