“INFAMOUS”–more about Capote


More About Capote

Amos Lassen

Truman Capote seems to have been the man of the year recently having had two movies made about him. Last year’s “Capote” netted an Oscar for the man playing the author but the two films are as different as they are alike. “Infamous” deals with the intellectual genius of the man> Both films deal with Capote’s classic non fiction novel “In Cold Blood” and they both explore Capote’s relationship with the murderer, Perry Smithy. Here, in “Infamous” more time is spent in the sexual aspects of the relationship (if there were any) and we never know what actually transpired between the two.

Toby Jones plays Capote as a flamboyant and colorful “queen” and makes his gayness more obvious than Phillip Seymour Hoffman did in the first film. But it is here that comparison ends. Both films should be looked at for the artistry of the actors involved. Capote’s life should have been a work of fiction. His sheer intellectual ability allows him to see beyond the limitations of society. His need to be a member of society forces him to be a user and a manipulator. As Capote, Toby Jones is magic. His gestures and facial expressions are priceless but we also learn of his tendency to exaggerate which detracts from the ability to take him seriously.

“Infamous” is kinder to Capote than the other film and shows him to be in love with the murderer. Capote’s anguish at the execution is almost heartbreaking to watch even though we know that Smith is being punished for a grizzly murder. That is how much we grow to love the character of the man. This movie is more explicit in its portrayals than “Capote” and certainly more graphic. There is surely more violence here than in the other film. We also see a different approach as to Capote’s place with the society matrons “the swans” of New York City.

Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, plays Perry Smith, forcefully and Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee is brilliant. Our Capote in this film is witty and sharp and excessively feminine. He is also much more vulnerable than Hoffman’s portrayal.

What “Infamous” is, is a love story. There is love between Capote and his female coterie and there is a deep love between Capote and the murderer. The film indeed lets you believe that their relationship was more than just platonic.

“Infamous” is powerful. The execution scene is extremely hard to watch and the story of the way Capote reported on the whole affair is as fascination as the mystery of his relation to Smith.

Personally I prefer this film over the other even though Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s performance was the height of good acting. There is something about “Infamous” that pulled me in and it was rewarding to watch. From the opening scene when Gwyneth Paltrow portrays Peggy Lee, I was hooked. It is a dark film, photographed darkly and with a soundtrack of subdued music. It brings the life of Capote to life in a way that we are no likely to forget.

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