“There are so few good conversations,” once bitched writer Truman Capote, “Due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” No doubt Truman would have delighted in the irony of seeing two intelligent biopics of his life arrive within conversing distance of each other. Yet while Capote is the better film – smarter in probing the ethical dimensions of the writer’s “non- fiction novel” In Cold Blood – Infamous deserves attention as more than just an also-ran. That’s thanks largely to Toby Jones’ impish performance as the gossipy, gay wordsmith.
Drawing out the writer’s brittle humour as Capote swans around New York or regales Kansas hicks with stories about “Mr Lauren Bacall”, Jones does sterling work in the bright and breezy first half. The second part is less assured, thanks to an unconvincing attempt by writer/director Douglas McGrath to build sympathy for Capote as he befriends murderer Perry Smith (Daniel Craig, channelling the pecs appeal he used as Bacon’s muse in Love Is The Devil).
“It’s like taking an engine apart and putting it back together in a smaller car,” is how the director describes the biopic process in his chat-track. It’s an erudite and entertaining listen that makes you want to like the movie more. Sadly, he refuses to bite the bullet and talk about that other Truman Capote flick; a failure of nerve that nips this cinematic conversation in the bud.