Infamous (2006)

Infamous (2006)

A slightly embellished, often compared, retelling that depicts the classic novelist’s larger-than-life spirit

7.0

Movie

United States of America
English
Crime, Drama
2006
DOUGLAS MCGRATH
Brady Coleman, Brady Hender, Brent A. McCoy
110 min

TLDR

Daniel Craig was genuinely a surprise here. It’s a really different side compared to his later roles, but not in the way you’re thinking. (And I can’t really say due to spoilers, sorry.)

What it's about

After reading about the murder of a family in Kansas, Truman Capote decides to travel to the state with childhood friend Harper Lee for inspiration for his upcoming novel, which leads to developing a connection with one of the murders, Perry Smith.

The take

It’s difficult to try to capture the truth of who a person really is, especially when there’s already preconceived notions or previous depictions about said person. Released a year after Capote (2005), Infamous inevitably drew comparisons to the biopic, especially with the stark difference between their tones. It starts off with a more gossipy, idle tone, introducing novelist Truman Capote first through documentary-like interviews, just before Toby Jones as Capote charms his way through droll chatter about some famous people. It seems much more vapid than Philip Seymour Hoffman’s depiction, but much more warm too, making Capote’s tendencies to gab and tell other people’s stories, in part due to fame, but also due to a certain joie de vivre of storytelling, once that inevitably breaks him when he finds the story of what his life could have been. Infamous might not be as acclaimed as its preceding Capote depiction, nor is it more truthful, but it’s certainly a fascinating portrayal of a fascinating man.

What stands out

Mild spoilers: Infamous is much gayer than Capote. In truth, the real novelist was gay, and was quite open about it, but the film does fabricate certain moments– for example, the real novelist only visited the prisoners a few times, and extended visits weren’t permitted, so certain scenes were not possible. But it feels like Truman might not have minded, really, considering he too fabricated certain moments in In Cold Blood. Infamous slightly acknowledges this, with the way each moment shared with Smith gets slightly more embellished with each of Jones’ retelling, and it feels slightly like an admission about the film itself. Maybe this review is a slightly embellished version too.

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