Review: Infamous

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  October 13, 2006 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

When you sit back and watch Infamous, a few things may enter your mind. First is obviously, didn't we see this film last year, and didn't some guy win an Oscar for it? The second thought would probably be what are all these A-list stars doing all these cameos for?

Infamous, like last year's Capote " which saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman win an Oscar " follows the adventures of flamboyant author Truman Capote (Toby Jones) as he journeys to a small town in Kansas to investigate the murders of the Clutter family by Dick Hickock (Lee Pace) and Perry Smith (Daniel Craig).

For me, Infamous felt more as an after-thought. We have the same story, a dynamic performance from the lead, and some deeper explorations of Capote and his world. I liked Craig's version of the Perry Smith character and the relationship between Capote and Smith. It seemed to reveal so much more about each man. Every time Craig was on screen he was electrifying and the complete opposite to Capote.

What I didn't like about the film was the rather annoying interview/narrations, the celebrity cameos, the unenlightened performances from Sandra Bullock and Jeff Daniels, and how very little contrast there was between New York and Kansas. The film felt like it was one of those Robert Altman movies where he thinks he can jam every star he knows into the picture's 110-minute running time. I hate those kinds of films. A cameo should be poignant to the film's plot, not just set dressing. If they are just set dressing then use an extra.

It's pretty obvious that audiences will want to compare and contrast between Infamous and Capote. The reason I liked Capote so much more was because it did an amazing job of showing just how bleak and desolate Kansas was compared to the lush, plastic life in New York. I never felt that Infamous ever fully explored just how cut-off Capote was from his luxurious lifestyle.

No matter if Capote came out before or after Infamous, I would have liked it more. Now if there was just a way to make Daniel Craig play Perry Smith in Capote, then we would have a perfect Capote film. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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