Blue Caprice

2013

Blue Caprice

Critics Consensus

Smart, sobering, and quietly chilling, Blue Caprice uses its horrible true-life story -- and some solid performances -- to underscore the dreadful banality of evil.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 80

51%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,245
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Blue Caprice Photos

Movie Info

The striking feature film debut of writer-director Alexandre Moors, BLUE CAPRICE is a harrowing yet restrained psychological thriller about an abandoned boy lured to America into the shadows of a dangerous father figure. Inspired by true events, BLUE CAPRICE investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two killers, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America. Marked by captivating performances by Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond, lyrical camerawork, and a unique and bold structure, BLUE CAPRICE documents the mechanisms that lead its subjects to embrace physical violence. BLUE CAPRICE paints a riveting portrait of 21st-century America and a haunting depiction of two cold-blooded killers that will endure long after the lights come up. (c) Official Site

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Cast

Isaiah Washington
as John Allen Muhammed
Tequan Richmond
as Lee Boyd Malvo
Leo Fitzpatrick
as Arms Dealer
Linda Powell
as Case Worker
Ron Simons
as Store Manager
Al Sapienza
as Detective Harper
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Critic Reviews for Blue Caprice

All Critics (80) | Top Critics (30)

  • Coolly controlled and extremely well-acted.

    Dec 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • The film creates one of the most chillingly becalmed portraits of insanity I've seen.

    Oct 4, 2013 | Full Review…
  • This lyrical, frightening film is a portrait of a man consumed by self-hatred who decided to take it out on the world.

    Sep 27, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • If Moors and Porto were aiming for gun-debate relevance, they've failed; "Blue Caprice" has nothing to say about a society plagued by violence, nor does it focus on mental illness as a probable cause.

    Sep 26, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The film's a character piece with a tightening noose of suspense, and while it has its artsy-indie-dawdly moments, it's disturbing in ways that aren't easy to shake.

    Sep 26, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • "Blue Caprice" doesn't offer the sense of catharsis or closure, let alone new information, that makes it more than a cold, if disciplined, directorial exercise.

    Sep 26, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Blue Caprice

  • Apr 26, 2014
    Well paced, striking and well acted, it's steely coldness though leaves a somewhat empty feeling having watched it and thus misses out on potentially something special.
    Jon H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2014
    An impressive debut feature from Alexandre Moors concerning the relationship of the 2002 D.C. Beltway shooters, and how a young, confused boy (Tequan Richmond) is brainwashed by a charismatic, self-righteous father figure (Isaiah Washington), who slowly but surely turns him into the monster he wants him to be. An atmospheric drama that is paced very slowly, but the amount of dread in the air is very present throughout the entire viewing. Washington is fantastically creepy, while Richmond absolutely nails his performance as well. Imagine a Terrance Malick film from hell, stripped completely of positivity. This is an eerie little movie that serves as a realistic portrayal of evil and how the slow burn that takes place eventually warps ones mindset and perspective on the world.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2014
    Terrorism hits Washington, D.C., and it's scary that it was committed by a traitorous American, with the scariest part being that the terrorist... is black. Forget a blue caprice, they should have called this "Black Guy Problems, White Guy Crazy", because no how matter how much black people get used to shooting things, just how many sniper assassins have been something other than white? ...Man, that's messed up on so many levels, and I apologize, particularly to the victims of the Beltway sniper attacks. Well, they probably should have seen this coming, because it seems like Muhammad Ali is the only black person who didn't go crazy when he went so deep into Muslim that he took the name Muhammad, and even then, that might be because he was releasing stress as a boxer, so if it wasn't Parkinson's disease that got him into retirement and unable to hold a gun, we'd be done for. Wow, this opener is probably too offensive, but hey, it's not like you've heard about this film enough to be interested in reading an article that deals with someone's opinion on it. I'd say that in that case, I should watch my step, should Isaiah Washington see this and actually have his own crazy breakdown, what with all of the Spike Lee films' rubbing off on him, but they're saying so little about this film that I doubt even Washington knows about it, and he's in it. That's a shame, because, morbid jokes aside, this is a worthy story, but man, does its interpretation fall flat, in spite of certain genuinely commendable aspects. Composed by Arcade Fire's Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld, this often dully quiet and dryly meditative film's score is underused, but when it is utilized, it's pretty effective, with a refreshing bite that is beautiful by its own musical right, as well as fitting as a compliment to this drama's tone. For this, credit is due to director Alexandre Moors, whose meditativeness is generally cold in its near-abstracts sparseness, yet it sometimes utilizes thoughtful style and scoring with a genuinely effective form of subtle intensity. Effective moments are there, helping in bringing the final product to the brink of decency, which, to be fair, was always to be within range, considering the value of this story which is done so much injustice by questionable storytelling. Well, even in concept, this narrative regarding the story behind the horrible Beltway sniper attacks is still too thin in scope to be all that meaty, and yet, this is nevertheless a conceptually intriguing study on men's gradual movement into dark depths that finds itself sometimes brought to life by highlights in storytelling, and frequently brought to life by worthy performances. Due to the thinness in the story concept and, of course, storytelling, acting material is limited, but what material there is goes delivered on pretty effectively by the leads, with Isaiah Washington capturing the bitterness of an angry man pushed to low-down deeds by his being wronged, while Tequan Richmond takes advantage of a more quiet intensity to capture the disturbed depths of a boy brought to a new life in America by a man who will mold him into a traitor of it. The disturbing story of John Muhammad and Lee Malvo has a lot of intrigue on paper that is not given as much justice as it should be given, but Washington and Richmond most reflect an ambition for effectiveness that is explored enough by genuine strengths in storytelling to at least come close to decency. Of course, the point is that decency is not achieved, because no matter how much this film bites in certain places, it falls flat on the whole, not even being able to come up with all that much freshness to what material there is to a do-little narrative. May be only so much plot, but when it kicks in, it's often too familiar for its own good, as storytelling is bland enough when it's not treading a formula that distances you about as much as, of all things, a lack of familiarity with the story and characters. Immediate development is lacking, the eventual explanation of certain background information feels rather forced, and even gradual characters pays only so much attention to fleshing out character layers which are ultimately very important in this conceptually layered character study. The performers capture the decline in decency within the leads, sure, but writer R.F.I. Porto provides only so much depth on paper, while still finding time to drag things along. Porto plagues storytelling with long meditations upon, not material, or even filler, but just nothing, and such overtly artistic meanderings get to be monotonous and aimless, ironically making it easier to feel out the natural shortcomings of this narrative which is handled with so little focus. Again, this story is worthy, but it's also minimalist, having only so much potential, due to its having only so much dynamicity to its plot to explore, which is hard to deny when the film meanders along what material is offers, and mighty coldly I might add. Porto's script, alone, is rich with questionable artistic over-meditativeness that borders on abstract, and certain stiffens pacing, yet momentum and, for that matter, resonance are truly deadened by the exhaustingly overblown directorial thoughtfulness by Alexandre Moors, who hits upon finding material, but generally plagues the final product with a distancing dullness that makes it even harder to get invested in an undercooked and meandering story, and frustrates with a certain sense of artistic pretense. The film wants so hard to be artistically slick, as well as intense, and by that, I don't so much mean that Moors' direction has a sense of ambition behind it, as much as I mean there's a certain arrogance to Moors' direction, which has its effective moments, and is ultimately not so abrasive that it aggravates to a contemptible degree, but makes it hard to get invested, as well as near-impossible to disregard the other storytelling shortcomings that leave the final product to sputter out as mediocre. When the rounds are emptied, an excellent score by Sarah Neufeld and Colin Stetson, highlights in directorial storytelling by Alexandre Moors behind a conceptually intriguing story, and strong performances by Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond provide glimpses of a decent dramatic thriller, but natural narrative thinness, some plotting conventions, distancing underdevelopment, monotonously unfocused dragging and a generally dull, atmospherically cold and arrogant directorial performance cut "Blue Caprice" into mediocrity as a both overblown and flat artistic meditation upon the ostensibly disturbing tale behind the certainly disturbing Beltway sniper attacks. 2.25/5 - Mediocre
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2014
    Last year Blue Caprice made a statement at some festivals for its cerebral look at evil based off a horrible true-life story about the Washington D.C. sniper. The eerie atmosphere and suspenseful music that underlines many of the events which take place more in Tacoma, Washington than D.C. gives you a good sense of dread as you watch Isaiah Washington's character morph Tequan Richmond's boy into a killing machine. Without much background for Washington, it was a bit difficult to understand his plight against America until stones start becoming unturned at uneven points throughout the film. The way he handled his adopted son makes more sense when you understand Washington's history as a violent man rather than being left a little clueless for the first 30 or 45 minutes. As far as the performances go from Washington and Richmond, they were excellent. Richmond really goes through a transformation from beginning to end. The blue Caprice doesn't actually make an appearance in the film till late, but then again this movie wasn't ever about glorifying the actual killings. There isn't much of the actual act of killing shown on camera...more after effects and visualizations of their damaged war path. Weirdly enough, I actually expected a little more doom and gloom with a darker story on the relationship between the two leads. In his first directing appearance, Moors might have been better served devoting more time to his two leads relationship than turning the environment into what shaped and molded the two.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer

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