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Picks and Pans Review: Infamous

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Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Sigourney Weaver

CRITIC’S CHOICE

DRAMA

Same story, different emphasis. That’s the nutshell description of Infamous, a doppelgänger to last year’s Capote. Infamous is good. Just not quite as good as Capote.

Both movies tell the real-life story of how Truman Capote came to write In Cold Blood, his compelling nonfiction bestseller about the murder of a Kansas farm family by two ex-cons in 1959. Capote’s point—one it made elegantly—was that for the sake of his book, Capote betrayed even those he loved and came to despise himself for it. Infamous, written and directed by Douglas McGrath (Emma), sees Capote’s despair as growing out of his disenchantment with playing court jester to Manhattan’s society elite and his doomed love for Perry Smith (Craig), one of the killers.

Like the earlier film, this one boasts a tremendous cast. Jones transforms himself into Capote, a fey elf with a twinkle in his eye. Bullock is terrific as writer Harper Lee, Capote’s childhood pal and conscience. Craig (the new James Bond) is alternately sensitive and menacing as Smith, while Weaver sparkles as socialite Babe Paley and Juliet Stevenson is wickedly funny as Diana Vreeland, the waspish editor of Vogue. (R)