Last night, PJ and I saw Infamous, the latest film about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Like Capote last year, Infamous recounts how Capote came to write this book and how it affected his life and career. It stars Toby Jones, who seems to have been born to play Capote, and a large star-filled cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Hope Davis, Sandra Bullock, and the new James Bond, Daniel Craig.

Here’s the trailer, which gives you a glimpse at these and other members of the cast:

I really admired Capote last year. I thought Philip Seymour Hoffman and Clifton Collins, Jr. were both excellent as Capote and his prized murderer, Perry Smith. The look and feel of the film was also great — I thought that it really caught the historical moment of the early 1960s. Of the five films nominated for best picture at the Oscars earlier this year, I thought Capote was the most deserving of the win.

Since I liked Capote so much, I’m kind of surprised to report that I loved Infamous! Infamous isn’t simply a retread of the previous movie. Jones is great as Capote — he brings a humor to the role that I don’t think Hoffman did. Also, where Hoffman’s was a performance, Jones’s is an embodiment, every gesture perfectly conveys Capote’s inner life. Sandra Bullock is also excellent as Harper Lee. While I thought Crash‘s win at the Oscars was indeed a homophobic rejection of Brokeback Mountain, Bullock was great in Crash; combined with this role, she is becoming quite an actress.

The most appealing thing about Infamous for me was that it is a much queerer film than Capote. Both movies acknowledge Capote’s longterm relationship with Jack Dunphy, played by John Benjamin Hickey in Infamous. But Infamous delves into the relationship a bit more, I think, by having the characters discuss their admission that they can’t always satisfy each other sexually — if one of them isn’t around, the other is free to satisfy his needs with whoever is around; only falling in love with someone else is against the rules. This film also explores Perry Smith’s sexuality further: Daniel Craig plays him as a homosexual who has been emotionally scarred by his father’s absence, his mother’s materialism and suicide, and society’s homphobia. I have no idea if any of the homoeroticism the film depicts between Perry and Capote is “true,” but it certainly makes for an interesting movie.

My one complaint about the film is Craig’s performance. I didn’t think he justified Capote’s interest in him. I preferred Collins’s performance, in part (no doubt) because I think Collins is totally hot!

Infamous is an excellent film, one that definitely deserves to come out from under the shadow of Capote. It may even end up being on my list of the 5 best pictures of the year. (So far, Shortbus and The History Boys are also in contention.)

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