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Infamous [DVD] 
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After reading about the murder of a Kansas family, Truman Capote plunges into the murder case that inspired his great novel In Cold Blood. Prisoner Perry Smith, killed in cold blood, the state will execute him in cold blood; does Capote get his story through cold calculation, or is there a price for him to pay?
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Much as I admire Hoffman I think Toby Jones' portrayal of Capote is more compelling: Truman Capote was certainly a larger than life character, outrageous, camp, witty, plausible & amoral (& an undoubted genius) - but I think Hoffman lays it on just a bit thick. It's not that his characterisation is necessarily inaccurate, but it is too big for the film to bear.
Jones achieves the right balance I think: this is definitely & sublimely a Truman Capote we can believe in, & even love. It's a compelling peformance with a sureness & lightness of touch; he brings an impish quality to Capote's bitchiness & bons mots which is very appealing, & which provides effective contrast to the more sombre episodes.
Greater verisimilitude is achieved overall with each character & element of the plot given its due weight, superb casting, & tighter production. With great photography & luscious costumes & interiors it provides a feast for the eyes as well as food for thought.
The earlier film is much looser & more discursive than Infamous & it suffers correspondingly. For example, there is a lengthier exposition of Truman Capote's ambivalence about the publication & reception of Harper Lee's book (To Kill a Mockingbird), whereas this is dealt with succinctly but no less effectively in Infamous.
Both films are imaginative representations of a certain set of circumstances - in other words they are fictionalised accounts of real event so neither claims to be factually accurate. Perhaps Infamous is slightly kinder to its protagonist: although a gossip who embroiders or falsifies the truth for effect or self-aggrandisement, & a manipulator, plausible but insincere, he is shown to be hoist by his own petard, finding himself deeply involved in the fate of one of the killers. This allows greater dramatic & emotional scope & works well. The earlier film is much more ambivalent about his sincerity throughout, but is no worse for that.
I can't remember how it is dealt with in the book, but the way in which Capote gained access to the case (the murders) is not very believable in either of these films. In this respect Infamous comes off worse, with the credulity- stretching cheese episode.
What makes a film great, as with any work of art, is its internal coherence, & although the earlier version has many good qualities this is the better film. But both are worth seeing.
And now I must reread In Cold Blood, the book that started it all.
When I found out Truman and his entourage were exactly as portrayed - I went back.
They were setting the scene for what Truman's life was like.
I love Toby Jones (the only reason I watched tbh) and he fits the role awesomely.
There are brilliant secondary parts from awesome actors (Sigourney Weaver, Gwyneth Paltrow, Juliet Stevenson, Hope Davis, Peter Bogdanovich and even Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet was a masterwork) ). Not main support but essential to the film. AWESOME work from all these.
Not a revisit film - but a masterwork of direction, cinematography, pace, and acting. The screenplay was awesome.
Capote was a egocentric, hypocritical, narcissist , gossiper and a liar.
The fact that he lacked sympathy for the victims and was more sexually interested with Perry (one of the two brutal murders) makes him grotesque.
The film is interesting because one learns more about Capote as a writer obsessed with the one murderer and actually seemed to have actually fallen in love with him.
As a bonus, the writing and pacing and everything else about the movie is spot on.
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