January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In the fall of 1959, a Kansas farm was the location of a brutal quadruple murder. An entire family was slain in the attack, a tragic and gruesome event. The news of this murders traveled fast and caught the attention of writer Truman Capote, who saw potential in the horrific deaths. The subject seemed to lend itself to a non fiction book or at least an article, so Capote decided to take a closer look. So he left behind Manhattan’s posh fast lane, to venture to rural Kansas and delve into the mind of murderers. He and his friend Nelle Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock) travel to Kansas, but meet resistance from the prosecutor in charge of the case. He is Alvin Dewey (Jeff Daniels) and while he is hesitant to allow Capote access to the inside information of the case, he is soon taken in by Capote’s stories of famous people. Soon the men responsible for the murders are caught and of course, Capote visits them to learn more about the killers. One of the men, Dick Hickock (Lee Pace) is quite candid and offers no resistance, but the other man, Perry Smith (Daniel Craig) isn’t so open. But he and Capote wind up forming a real bond, complete with sexual tension, even as Perry faces certain execution. As Capote puts the final touches on his book In Cold Blood, what impact will the process have on him and where will he go from there?

This movie didn’t get much fanfare, which is a surprise, as the cast is quite impressive. In addition to Toby Jones in the lead, we have Daniel Craig, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Peter Bogdanovich, Hope Davis, Isabella Rossellini, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sigourney Weaver. That is a remarkable lineup, a collection of stars that you’d think would warrant a high profile promotional push, but that wasn’t the case. The movie itself is uneven at times, but has more positives than negatives to be sure. I think this is a much better overall movie than Capote, but that film has much more acclaim and attention. That is a shame, as Infamous is so much richer and deeper than Capote, which was basically a one man show. The cast shines, especially the interaction between Jones and Craig, who have the ideal presence together on screen. The dynamics between the two work just as they should, with both men turning in excellent performances. Bullock is also impressive, with a performance that would steal the show in most films, but Infamous is so deep in performance riches, it barely stands out. The direction is also quite good, though the quick cuts and shifts might be a little off putting at first. Infamous is a more than solid movie with some great performances, not the kind of movie most will revisit often, but well worth a rental.

Video: How does it look?

Infamous is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer looks very good and has few flaws, but never quite impresses. The print is in good condition, as well it should be given how new of a release this is. I found detail to be solid, but depth isn’t great and subtle touches aren’t as refined as I would like. The hues come across in vibrant form, without a trace of bleeds or smears, while flesh tones remain natural in scope. The contrast is also impressive, with accurate black levels and no detail loss, at least that I could see. I did see some small errors here and there, but nothing too serious and in the end, this is a more than solid visual presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

I could hardly tell this disc had a Dolby Digital 5.1 track on deck, but this is due to the material, not flaws within the mix itself. I was never let down by the audio here and in truth, I never even thought about it, as it should be in this kind of flick. The dialogue is clean and well presented, but the surrounds are almost never used, even for subtle presence. The elements sound solid however, just not too dynamic in terms of presence. But I think this mix more than suits the material, which is what really counts. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The audio commentary track with director Douglas McGrath is a boon for Capote fans, as he goes in depth on the subject and shares a lot of insight. He covers a lot of bases, but not just about Capote of course, he also spends ample time discussing the production of the film. McGrath touches on why the film was constructed as it was, as well as what he hoped to bring across with this picture. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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