Running Time: 118 mins.
Rated: Rated M (moderate violence, moderate coarse language, moderate sexual references and sex scene)
Infamous has been billed as 'the other Capote' film. It is one of those strange occurrences in the film world that two films on the same character or subject are made at the same time. Capote was very well received a year ago and led to Philip Seymour Hoffman receiving numerous awards and the Oscar for his portrayal of Truman Capote. Film buffs who enjoy comparing versions will be very pleased to see this interpretation - in fact, it can be recommended as a further insight into Capote, perhaps more focused and deeper than the former film.
Douglas McGrath (Emma, Nicholas Nickleby) has written a literate screenplay and directed. It does go over the previous ground, focusing on the same years. However, it gives a great deal of attention to Capote's New York social life, the gallery of socialites that he dined with, gossiped with and received so much affirmation from. The relationship and work with Harper Lee is also examined as is his collaboration with the family of the investigator, Alvin Dewey, into the Clutter killings. We see the origins of In Cold Blood and share the process of writing.
More extensively than in Capote we see the developing relationship, with its moody ups and downs, between Truman and Perry Smith. Infamous does it better and with more insight than Capote.
Infamous is blessed with a powerful, an extraordinary performance by British Toby Jones as Capote. He is the correct height and build and impersonates the mannerisms to great effect. It is also an award-meriting performance. One of the great and pleasant surprises is the presence and performance of Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee. She contrasts in appearance and manner from the socialites and is understanding and patient with Capote. Sandra Bullock has done so many comedies and light romances that audiences will be surprised at the maturity she brings to this role.
The other big surprise is the casting of Daniel Craig as Perry Smith. The US release of the film coincides with his first appearance as James Bond in Casino Royale. This performance is quite the opposite. He brings an edge to the character of Perry, wary of Capote's motives yet able to be influenced by his charm and sweet-talking about literature and language. His moods vary and he exhibits at some moments a viciousness towards his mentor. He reveals himself, so much so that it almost means that he is the true love in Capote's life. This makes the execution scene and Capote's behaviour more harrowing.
There is a gallery of stars to play Capote's circle including Sigourney Weaver, Hope Davis, a highly eccentric Juliet Stevenson and Isabella Rossellini. The cast also includes Jeff Daniels as Alvin Dewey, Peter Bogdanovich as publisher Bennett Cerf and John Benjamin Hickey as Capote's lover, Jack Dunphy.
The film opens with Capote at a night club listening to a lounge singer performing Cole Porter's What is this thing called love. Critics talk about show-stoppers. Gwyneth Paltrow's rendition is strong, then seems to falter until we realise what she is doing