Douglas McGrath brings a ritzy elegance to his take on Truman Capote.
Ultimately this movie didn't engage me in the way that the other Capote film did.
Director Douglas McGrath has a created a solid if ultimately not as interesting take on Truman Capote with his film Infamous. Covering almost all of the same ground that the much ballyhooed Capote did a year before, this story sees Truman (here embodied by Toby Jones) get wrapped up in the story of a family slain in Kansas. He goes out to where these events happened and sticks out like a sore thumb in this once peaceful town.
Eventually, Truman begins talking to the people convicted of this heinous act and he even develops a relationship with one of them. (This film takes that relationship a little bit further than it was taken in Capote.) What eventually happens is Truman lets his personal life get too involved with his work, and this is only a problem because they become indistinguishable. In the end, Truman ultimately gave in to telling a good story, as opposed to caring about another human being, and Infamous chronicles this literary masters downfall.
Screenwriter/Director Douglas McGrath handles the commentary duties on this DVD, and I have to say, talk about a blowhard. This track was almost painful to listen to. McGrath speaks in such a structured, definitive cadence that it seems like every word he says is law. It makes merely listening to his voice a daunting proposition. Taking an almost film studies approach, McGrath discusses what he wanted to accomplish with each scene, how he was trying to lull the audience into this world (believe me he does that, but not in the way he'd probably hoped) and he also discusses the rehearsal process. In fairness this isn't all bad. McGrath gives some insights into how much the crimes bothered Truman, and he also points how Capote wasn't monkish in his writing habits, and that dining out was a big part of who he was.
Widescreen Version presented in a "matted" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs. Infamous as a movie is bigger and has many more production values (and characters) than Capote . The fact that this film focuses so heavily on the New York high life also means that a pretty penny had to be spent to pull that off. This film is looser and filled with a lot more characters, and on DVD it plays quite nicely. It seems like it has been compressed so as to give this movie a stern feel, but not make the images seem overcooked.
Dolby Digital. English: Dolby Surround 5.1. Close Captioned. If you can get passed Toby Jones annoying voicing of this character (Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't nearly this insufferable), you will find that the audio, mixed in with the music is actually quite pleasant. As I have mentioned, Infamous goes for the more ritzier aspects of who Truman Capote was, and because of that the soundtrack and the visuals in this movie have more to do than they did in the other film.
Toby Jones, Daniel Craig and Sandra Bullock are all given time on this front cover layout. They have even juxtaposed the New York skyline against a Kansas one. The back cover features multiple shots of this varied cast, a critic's quote, a Special Features listing, a description of this film, a cast list and technical specs. Sadly, there really isn't anything about this cover (or even this movie) that makes it stand out.
As I watched this film, I couldn't help but wonder if I might have enjoyed it more if it had been released before Capote. Sadly, this isn't something I will ever know, but watching this movie I felt almost bad for everyone involved in this film. Douglas McGrath and the rest of the cast can try and spin the story any way they want, the reality is that this is almost the exact same movie as the one that came before it. In fact, I am almost amazed that Warner Bros. didn't simply dump it on DVD. They released this film in theaters but it just plays like a retread of something that was released only a short time ago.
McGrath tried to spin this film as one that looks at the nightlife of New York and Truman Capote. He really seemed to believe that he was going deeper into this story, and perhaps he was, but he just got beaten to the punch by what plays as a virtual carbon copy of the Truman Capote story. Unless you have some zest to repeat your viewing experience, you certainly won't miss anything skipping over Infamous.
Infamous was released September 11, 2006.