our film reviews: from armchair viewing to the festival front row

29 October 2006

[Reel-Reviews] Infamous (5 stars)

What makes a 5 star film? I may change my mind in days to come on this film but I feel I have to go with my gut instinct when the film ended. Unlike Bobby seen earlier that afternoon that 'logically' is a 5 star film, this film took me on a journey and into a different realm, which in this genre makes for a 5 star film in my book.

Toby Jones plays the 'eccentric' late 20th century author Truman Capote impecabbly, which is an odd word to use given how much this film is about people being used by others, especially Capote. Small in stature, Truman is larger than life, but complex too. The film follows a foreseeable course but I did not expect how we were going to be taken there by director and script writer Douglas McGrath.

The script is based around the creation of Capote's book, In Cold Blood. This depicts in a "new form of reportage" the brutal murder of a family in a Kansas town. We are left to ponder to what extent this form of reportage lies in the literary genres of fact or fiction. Nelle Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock), one of Capote's few non-society companions, has no doubts about Capote's aims as he extracts the base material for his book from the townsfolks and the murderers themselves.

The film could run its course and in many ways it does. Ultimately we are left wondering where the line between fantasy and fiction lies in Capote's own mind - and whether we too have experienced this through the film maker's lens.

At the time though I was taken in by the harrowing ending to this film and particularly a shot of Capote looking in a mirror where every emotion just runs across his face from sheer joy to sheer horror. This is a wonderful but desperately sad story.

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