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Stars: Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Jeff Daniels, Sigourney Weaver, Lee Pace, Bethlyn Gerard

Director: Douglas McGrath

We've seen this before. The story of how flamboyant gay author Truman Capote (Jones) interviewed, then wrote a book about the two killers who slaughtered a Kansas family over non-existent treasure hidden in their home, was told the previous year in Capote.

This version, however, is considerably the better of the two, focussing as it does on humanity rather than events. Jones' portrait of Capote matches the earlier one by Philip Seymour Hoffman, but adds vulnerability and a more accessible sense of humour.

When he and his colleague Nelle (Bullock) find themselves invited by the wife (Gerard) of the local sheriff (Daniels) for Christmas, they arrive bearing gifts. 'We brought you a fruit cake,' says Bullock. Adds Jones: 'And she doesn't mean me.'

His sexuality, however, is the pivot on which the drama revolves, after he meets Smith, the more sensitive of the two murderers (an amazing performance by Craig - almost as far from James Bond as you can imagine). Smith doesn't like Capote's work - or the title (In Cold Blood. 'Imagine,' comments Jones to a New York crony (Weaver), 'being told your work lacked kindness by a four-time killer.'

But he and Smith, originally a singer and painter, become increasingly close...

Hope Davis and Juliet Stevenson have a few acerbic lines as other cronies, and Gwyneth Paltrow brings real emotion to her one song. But Isabella Rossellini is cruelly left with almost nothing to do. A different movie experience this, but one you won't easily forget.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Jan 2007