As Truman Capote (Toby Jones) researches the gruesome Kansas murders that became the basis for his book, "In Cold Blood," he befriends one of the killers, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig). "Infamous" covers the same period in Capote's life as last year's "Capote" (the two films were in production at about the same time as well) and also stars Sandra Bullock and Jeff Daniels.
Big question: "Capote" snagged a Best Picture nod and a Best Actor Oscar for Philip Seymour Hoffman; what's the point of seeing "Infamous"?
Catch it: The performances in "Capote" were better, but "Infamous" is the superior movie, depicting a more involved version of Capote's reporting in terms of how and why he did the piece. With a lighter, livelier touch than its predecessor, "Infamous" should not be blamed for unfortunate timing but commended for looking at the subject in a different, deeper way.
Skip it: If you don't want a glimpse of pretentious high society, in which one of Capote's friends admits to having her maid iron her money. Wonder if the she pays the maid with that freshly pressed cash.
Bottom line: "Infamous" doesn't encapsulate the fear and desperation that drove Smith and Dick Hickock to kill, and mock interviews with actors playing Capote's friends and family seem like an expositional crutch. But while "Capote" was a surface-level movie anchored by a great performance, you walk out of "Infamous" feeling like the story of Capote's finest work has now been appropriately told.
Bonus: Can't stand two-faced critics? Capote knows how you feel: Smith, a convicted killer, tells the writer that his books "lack kindness." Ouch.
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
Directed by Douglas McGrath; screenplay by McGrath, based on George Plimpton's book "Truman Capote"; cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel; edited by Camilla Toniolo; production design by Judy Becker; music by Rachel Portman; produced by Christine Vachon, Jocelyn Hayes and Anne Walker-McBay. A Warner Independent Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:58. MPAA rating: R (for language, violence and some sexuality).
Truman Capote - Toby Jones
Nelle Harper Lee - Sandra Bullock
Perry Smith - Daniel Craig
Bennett Cerf - Peter Bogdanovich
Alvin Dewey - Jeff Daniels
Slim Keith - Hope Davis
Babe Paley - Sigourney Weaver
Diana Vreeland - Juliet StevensonCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times