Monday, April 23, 2007


I saw a great film over the weekend. It is called Infamous and it is the other film about Truman Capote writing In Cold Blood. I like Capote and think Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener are very good, but for my money Infamous is the better film.

Toby Jones, a diminutive English actor, is Capote, Sandra Bullock is Harper Lee and James Bond- Daniel Craig- is Perry Smith. All are great. It’s been ages since I read In Cold Blood but what struck me was the way Capote humanized the killers, while making the death penalty- state sanctioned murder- such an inhuman thing. That aspect of In Cold Blood comes across in Infamous. You see how writing the book tore Capote apart. After In Cold Blood he was never the same writer and since he was defined by his work, you could argue, never the same man.

Douglas McGrath, the writer and director, uses stylized techniques where the other actors talk directly to the camera- in past tense- about how In Cold Blood changed Capote. In a beautifully haunting scene near the end of the film, Craig’s Perry Smith sings “Goldmine in the Sky” directly to the camera. This image is intercut with Capote listening to it on a tape recorder.

Now a word about Douglas McGrath, the director. I have been a fan of his since he co-wrote (with Patricia Marx) a book called Blockbuster, a hysterical novel about a feature film production run amok. He also shared writing credit with Woody Allen for Bullets Over Broadway and made a nice film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. I hope he makes more films and people go see Infamous.



Lawrence Roberts said...

I really want to see this movie! I just saw another one that you might be interested in. It's called "Black Irish" starring Brendan Gleeson.

I found a trailer for the film at this link:

Check it out. I think you might like it.

strunny said...

i'm coming to chicago to hang w/my europe-traveler friend this weekend - any recommendations for us for our night in the city, anything going on you know about?

Wonder Woman said...

I will be watching Infamous and thinking of all of my infamous friends.

Wonder Woman said...

Which is MORE than famous right?

PeterH said...

I think infamous is like inflammable, one of those words which means something different than it sounds. To me inflammable sounds as if shouldn't be able to catch on fire.

I don't know I am just a dumb filmmaker.