This is by no means a bad film, and had it been the only one being released dealing with this material, it may in fact have garnered more attention and respect. As it stands, it's a pale and shallow also-ran, touching on a lot of interesting ideas but never delving deep into any one of them.
Toby Jones is certainly quirky enough as the unusual author, but you never really see anything more than just the quirks. Obviously a much more complex relationship develops between him and the Death Row inmate played by a nearly unrecognizable Daniel Craig, but screenwriter and director Douglas McGrath is more to blame than the actor playing him. He genuinely cares about Craig, but place him back on Park Avenue and he comes off as manipulating and only concerned with turning out a quality novel. That contradiction is never balanced satisfactorily.
"Infamous" is a noble yet shallow picture that seems all too intent on justifying its very existence. Jones is not nearly good enough to make you forget Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar winning performance in the same role a mere eleven months earlier.
According to writer/director Douglas McGrath in his DVD commentary, many of the scenes in Infamous, most notably a dramatic sexual encounter between Capote and inmate Perry Smith (played by Craig), occurred only in McGrath's imagination.
The film's original title alternated between Have You Heard? and Every Word Is True.
The singer portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow originally was intended to be Peggy Lee. The situation of an audience being held spellbound by a performer falling silent in the middle of a song was based on a real-life nightclub performance by Barbara Cook.
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Toby Jones won the London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year. He also won the Best Actor Award at the Ibiza International Film Festival. Daniel Craig was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine.
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This said, I enjoyed Infamous more than Capote. While good, Capote was cold, almost documentary-like. Infamous is warmer and more emotional. It vividly captures the relationship between Truman Capote and Perry Smith, one of the murderers. The execution scene is particularly harrowing. Plus it gives a more explicit indication of the effect that the writing of In Cold Blood, and its success, had on Capote. The character depth is greater in Infamous too, and not Capote's character. The New York social scene helps greater a wider breadth of characters, and proves much warmth to the story.
Great performance by Toby Jones as Capote. Good support from Daniel Craig as Perry Smith, Sandra Bullock as Harper Lee and Jeff Daniels as the police chief. Some big names in minor roles too, and none of them disappoint: Sigourney Weaver, Peter Bagdanovich, Hope Davis, Isabella Rossellini and Gwyneth Paltrow.
The definitive story of the writing of In Cold Blood, and its aftermath.