Infamous

"Weak"

Infamous Review


If the cogs of the movie-making machine are going to keep turning out the exact same movie, why do I have to write up a whole new review?

It's hard to keep an open mind when the synopsis - celebrated author Truman Capote heads to Kansas after a quadruple homicide rocks a rural town, where he becomes obsessed with one of the killers as he pens his book In Cold Blood - perfectly describes not only the new release Infamous, but last year's Capote just as well. To try to look at Infamous in a vacuum is disingenuous at best; no one who will see this movie has not at least heard of the other.

And unfortunately for Infamous, that means it's doomed to be Capote's forgotten sibling: This one is a year later, several Oscar nominations (and one win) shy, and nowhere near as good. On its own, it may not be so bad, but in the scheme of things, it's wholly redundant.

Writer-director Douglas McGrath's version of the story is based on the book Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career and as such features a variety of talking head interviews of his contemporaries -- Gore Vidal, Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley -- attempting to explain the character that was Truman Capote. The device works quite well, but is sadly only used for about 10 minutes or so (it pops up again at the end, but by then it has been downgraded to voice-over treacle).

Infamous starts out quite amusingly, painting a charmingly superficial picture of the high flying New York society scene of which Truman was queen bee. Toby Jones plays Truman as a swishy little troll, a preposterous muppet in human form, and he's entertaining as hell in the role. When Truman heads to Kansas to write about how the town is affected by the murders, it's a pure fish-out-of-water comedy. If it's not enough that Truman is five feet tall with a cartoon voice and an urban sensibility, he shows up with a trousseau and a full-length fur.

But from there on out, McGrath tells not only the exact same story, but in the exact same way as Capote: Truman slowly wins over the town, begins interviewing the two killers, and his obsession with one, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig), leads virtually to his own ruin. And it's not merely that we've seen these characters, this context, this story before; it's that Infamous lays them out in the most straightforward, uncomplicated and uninteresting manner. Perry opening up and talking about his past is not an unveiling, it's a flashback; Truman's obsession is shown, but never explained; all of the story's complexities are ironed out as pat as possible.

And sadly, the salvation is not to be found in the acting. Craig is entirely too...rugged for the part of Perry. His inescapable manliness might be good news to those worried about the fate of the Bond franchise, but it's all wrong here. He displays none of the tenderness that supposedly draws Capote to him. And so much feels like stunt casting - Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee performs as though in a community theatre production of Our Town, and Gwyneth Paltrow has three very long minutes singing on screen as Peggy Lee in a pointless cameo.

It's not all bad - Jones won't get as much credit as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but he's wonderful as Truman. Hope Davis and Sigourney Weaver are similarly entertaining as socialite swans (Weaver's casting, playing the wife of legendary CBS president William S. Paley, is a charming little in-joke, as Weaver is the real-life daughter of legendary NBC president Pat Weaver).

It's also, clearly, a great story. McGrath may have very much wanted to tell it, but he was beaten to the punch, which should have killed Infamous as extraneous. Because even if the story itself is very intriguing, go rent Capote. Or even better yet, read In Cold Blood. Nothing beats an original.

Shoulda got the Bordeaux.



Infamous

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 16th November 2006

Box Office USA: $1.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $1.2M

Budget: $13M

Distributed by: Warner Independent Pictures

Production compaines: Longfellow Pictures, Warner Independent Pictures (WIP), Killer Films, Jack and Henry Productions Inc.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 106 Rotten: 40

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Babe Paley, as Truman Capote, as Kitty Dean, as Nelle Harper Lee, as Marella Agnelli, as Bennett Cerf, as Alvin Dewey, as Perry Smith, as Diana Vreeland, as Gore Vidal, as Slim Keith, as Jack Dunphy, as Dick Hickock

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.