Although furrowing the same ground as Capote, Infamous takes a different line of attack in depicting Truman Capote as he researches his true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. Playing the titular scribe, Toby Jones delivers just as striking a turn as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but in keeping with the tragicomic tone set by writer/director Douglas McGrath. It doesn't have the surgical precision of Bennett Miller's film, but this account gets to the heart of the man with humour and compassion.
Soon after the Clutter family are found dead, Capote heads from Manhattan to Kansas like a fancy-pants fish-out-of-water. Teaming with lifelong pal and author Harper Lee (poignantly depicted by Sandra Bullock), this initially plays like a quirky cop-buddies mystery yarn. Capote freaks out the hayseeds with his flamboyant outfits and squeaky voice, while oh-so politely asking for their reaction to the "gruesome" murders…
"TUGS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS, CHILLS TO THE BONE"
It's Capote's unorthodox methods that initially create intrigue along with outrageous laughs. However, the story grows subtly darker when Daniel Craig turns up as one of the killers, Perry Smith. It's a crackling livewire of a performance, deftly capturing what Capote called "the tender and the terrible" that dwelled inside him. Their relationship deepens along with a mood of foreboding as the day of execution draws near, and Capote must somehow reconcile his feelings for Smith with the need to close the book on him. Miller probed this dilemma more intensely in Capote, but McGrath delivers a bitter love story that tugs as much at the heartstrings as it chills to the bone.