Infamous

Film
SOFT CELL Jones is a captive audience.
SOFT CELL Jones is a captive audience.

Time Out says

The idea that tiny, shawl-draped Truman Capote could inspire twin biopics within a year, both of them focused on the writing of In Cold Blood, both of them moody and atmospheric, strains credulity—even as redefined by Tru himself. As it happens, Infamous is no copycat project, just a victim of unfortunate timing. (The director has several fine credits to his name, including the script for Woody Allen’s self-reflexive Bullets Over Broadway.)

But the shadow of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s total transformation in last year’s Capote looms large, and though Toby Jones’s swishier performance hardly represents the gauntlet failed, the new movie is just not distinguished enough to constitute a worthy addition to the myth. Ironically, McGrath’s script may be even more daring than Dan Futterman’s, etching a stronger impression of the way Capote used his gayness to establish intimacy, both as society gadfly and Kansas interloper; the way the writer turns his nickname for Holcomb’s slippery police chief, “Foxy,” into a loaded term of endearment is the film’s funniest and sliest bit of business.

Still, it’s impossible to prefer Sandra Bullock’s high-school-play--accented Harper Lee to Catherine Keener’s, or, for that matter, McGrath’s interview-the-character tactics to Capote’s subtler revelations. (Only Craig’s fiercely sensual Perry gives Clifton Collins Jr.’s tragic killer a run for his money.) In fairness, no movie deserves to be released to such inhospitable comparisons. So perhaps the biggest compliment one can pay Infamous is that it doesn’t completely get pushed out of the limelight. Hard to imagine: A movie about Capote is, by now, a little banal. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.)—Joshua Rothkopf

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