Blue Caprice

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 10.55.58 AM
Tequan Richmond and Isaiah Washington in “Blue Caprice”

Director: Alexandre Moors

For a movie about a notorious murder spree, Blue Caprice is surprisingly uninterested in the crimes themselves.  Based on the 2002 Beltway sniper shootings, this disturbing psychodrama examines the complex relationship of the perpetrators rather than the details of their inevitable rampage.  It seeks to uncover precisely what compelled them to commit such senseless acts of violence.  The movie posits that the answer is both simpler and more chilling than you might expect.  American malcontent Jon (Isaiah Washington) conscripts Antiguan teenager Lee (Tequan Richmond) to commit a series of random homicides in and around Washington D.C.  The title refers to the killers’ infamous getaway car, the trunk of which they reconfigured into a makeshift sniper’s nest.  Though it explains how Jon blamed the system for his broken marriage and sought to wage war against America from the inside, the movie is really about Lee, the waifish youth he fostered and then brainwashed with the promise of love and companionship.  Director Alexandre Moors generates powerful effect through news footage and 911 recordings, but mostly works with a portentously atmospheric style that evokes the claustrophobia of being locked inside a trunk with a psychopath.  By limiting the story’s scope and excluding the associated victims and police officers, Moors strengthens the movie’s intimacy and conveys the protagonists’ shocking indifference toward humanity.  Blue Caprice may be more of a mood piece than a thorough exploration, but it still presents a terrifying case study in the consequences of learned hatred.

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