Capote, Take Two

by Alan Rapp on October 13, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Man of the Year
  • IMDB: link

“Infamous is when you’re more than famous…he’s not just famous, he’s in-famous.”
Three Amigos

InfamousMuch like Capote, the film begins in New York showcasing Truman Capote (Toby Jones) in his natural habitat.  Here however we are shown a man with a large group of friends, dreams and desires, and a great sense of humor.  Unlike Bennet Miller‘s Capote, this one is a fully realized character rather than simply a manipulator.

Truman and Nell Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock) travel to Kansas to research a new book about a grizzly murder.  Of course Capote is completely out of place in the rural Midwest and shunned by the local sheriff (Jeff Daniels) and townspeople until he wins them over with his tales of celebrities.

When the two murderers are apprehended Truman travels to the prison to begin interviewing the men and discovers a connection with the tender yet brutal Perry (Daniel Craig).

Jones does an excellent job with the role and comes off more natural than Philip Seymour Hoffman, sadly Bullock is no Catherine Keener.

There are several small roles of Capote’s friends that add humor to the film and help balance its tone.  Of these Hope Davis and Sigourney Weaver come off best.

What makes the film different than last year’s entry is how much more it concentrates on the character of Truman Capote and to a much lesser extent the events of In Cold Blood.  One of the interesting choices director Douglas McGrath makes is to cut from the story and have the supporting characters speak about Capote and the situations in the past tense.  These interviews give the film a bit of the feel of a retrospective and allow for some of the best moments when these characters can speak frankly about their friend and this situation.

The film isn’t without flaws.  There’s an odd opening sequence with Gwyneth Paltrow, who does not reappear after the credits, and a couple of moments in the prison where the film barely manages to avoid becoming melodrama.

Is it better than Capote (read that review here)?  No, not really, but it’s different enough, and a much more lighthearted view on the subject that I think both those who enjoyed last year’s film and those who found it difficult to watch, may both find something to enjoy here.  In terms of acting last year’s is the hands-down winner (except for Jones who holds his own), but in terms of creating a more engaging story and showing a fully developed character, Infamous has its own treasures to offer.

Previous post:

Next post: