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Infamous The Life of Truman Capote - Film Review

 

 

Infamous – the Life of Truman Capote – Film Review

 

I have to confess that I did not know a great deal about Truman Capote, the American writer, other than that he wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s and wrote for the movies.

This movie, Infamous, was certainly an education.

It opens almost in documentary style with his many celebrity friends being interviewed. They adore gossip, as indeed does Truman, and he is always keen to supply, name dropping at every turn, from Princess Margaret to Frank Sinatra, from Bogart to Errol Flynn, from Monroe to the president himself, and one is never really certain whether he knows these people quite as well as he portrays or not. His friends are equally baffled.

Capote, who is openly gay, has struck up a close friendship with Harper Lee, the American writer who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, and when there is a gruesome family murder on a farm in Kansas, mum, dad, son, daughter, all slaughtered in the family home because they could not produce the rumoured family safe containing 10,000 dollars, Capote and Lee set off for the prairies to investigate the case.

Capote can smell a book coming from somewhere and it sure as heck does, as the highly controversial In Cold Blood is the result, Capote’s must famous and successful work. He never really did anything again afterwards.

Meanwhile, two men are arrested for the foul deeds done at the farmhouse and Capote pulls all the strings he possesses to gain access to the men, where he initially interviews them and then becomes more deeply involved. Fact or fiction? No one seems to know for sure.

The film has a stellar cast. Toby Jones, the British actor, plays Capote, mincing around like Quentin Crisp, always entertaining and watchable. Sandra Bullock plays his side-kick Harper Lee, and fantastically well at that, Daniel Craig pops up, somewhat surprisingly as the more thinking man of the criminal duo, and does his reputation no harm at all. The American accent held up pretty well and I found him to be quite believable.

Add to that cameo roles from Gwyneth Paltrow, Sigourney Weaver Peter Bogdanovich and others and you can see what I mean about a great cast.

There are a lot of subtle laughs here too, especially in the first third of the picture, but as it progresses the movie becomes darker and the laughs, quite rightly, disappear.

Infamous came out in 2006 and perhaps inevitably it lost business at the box office due to another film about the writer ”Capote” which came out a year earlier. But most critics agree that Infamous, if not actually better than Capote, and that is debateable, is certainly well worth a watch.

I found it entertaining, educational, enjoyable, and the ending is quite simply one that I will not forget in a hurry, and I suspect you won’t either. Definitely recommended. See it if you get the chance.

In the meantime here's a clip from the film. Here Capote, (Toby Jones), is talking about his love of shawls and arm wrestling. When you are tiny you have to be tough. Great line.

 

 

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