Infamous (R)

Drama 118 November 3, 2006
By Robert Wilonsky
This year's retelling of how Truman Capote wound up in Kansas writing his non-fiction novel In Cold Blood never comes close to approaching the quiet, devastating brilliance of Capote, last year's retelling of how Truman Capote wound up in Kansas writing his non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. Which is not to say Infamous, written by actor Doug McGrath, is a far inferior version of Capote, which was written by actor Dan Futterman; it's just a lesser version, that's all, light in weight and absent the ache that permeated the movie. That said, had Infamous been the first version of the story to hit theaters, one might have regarded it as a very minor triumph -- in no small part because of Toby Jones, who floats through the first half of McGrath's movie like a champagne bubble. But the second half of the movie just follows in its predecessor's footsteps, from the prison cell to the gallows to a career left in talk-show tatters. Sure, Infamous dares to say that Capote probably fucked killer Perry Smith (Daniel Craig in jet-black hair and clunky American accent) while he was in prison, but the change in tone's so jarring -- from breezy sitcomedy to noir theatrics -- you're less jolted by Smith and Capote's scenes together than you are the solemnity that crashed down on the proceedings and sucked the life out of the movie. Turns out, there was only so much blood left in the rehashing of In Cold Blood. The sucker's a stiff now; time to move along.
Douglas McGrath Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sigourney Weaver, Isabella Rossellini, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Brady Coleman, Lee Ritchey Douglas McGrath, George Plimpton Jocelyn Hayes, Sidney Kimmel, Christine Vachon, Anne Walker-McBay Warner Independent Pictures

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