Film review: Infamous
A more accessible and in many ways a more mainstream film than the previous year’s Capote, Infamous (2006) also happens to be the better and more entertaining of the two pictures. It offers the viewer a much richer, fascinating depiction of the Manhattan social scene at the end of the 1950s, and also features a good deal of genuine humor — there are some truly hilarious scenes in the film’s first half. And yet the early jokes only serve to make the picture’s sombre denouement all the more harrowing.
As for the performances, well, some will say Toby Jones doesn’t quite possess the acting chops of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but I think it’s more the case that he simply doesn’t overact in the same manner as Hoffman (of whom I’m a big fan, for what it’s worth). In retrospect I’d have to say the usually superb P.S. Hoffman was rather miscast in Capote. But this is most definitely not the case with British character actor Toby Jones’s rendition of the famous writer. Mr. Jones’s light touch is given an especially strong foundation in the role by his startling physical resemblance to the real Truman Capote, as well as his dead-on accent and speech patterns.
There is also a delightful, understated, Oscar-worthy performance from Sandra Bullock as Capote’s longtime friend Harper Lee, and a dark, ferocious and equally award-deserving Daniel Craig as the death row inmate Perry Smith.
Some times less is more. But there are times, too, when more is more. Infamous — with its more traditional Hollywood treatment including lavish sets, over-the-top humor gags and a stable of big budget stars — is a slick, effective, and highly entertaining movie about Truman Capote and the writing of “In Cold Blood.”