Blue Caprice

Isaiah Washington in Blue Caprice.
Isaiah Washington in Blue Caprice.

Talk about timely. This speculative feature film about what went on in the minds of the two men behind the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks pulses with relevance to the current debate over guns. But Blue Caprice cuts deeper than a headline-rattling true story. Directed by New York-based French filmmaker Alexandre Moors, from a taut script by R.F.I. Porto, Blue Caprice is a cinematic punch to the gut, a mind-bending meditation on how to mold a killer, and one of the most potent and provocative true-crime movies ever made. Moors, in a striking, incisive feature debut, shows no interest in reveling in the deaths of the ten people randomly gunned down by John Allen Muhammed (Isaiah Washington) and his 17-year-old accomplice Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) during their three-week killing spree through D.C., Maryland and Virginia. His intent is to put a human face on diabolical behavior without for a second condoning it. The film kicks off on the island of Antigua, where young Malvo has been living on his own since his mother took a hike. Enter Muhammed who takes the boy in with his own children. What seems idyllic soon turns menacing. Muhammed has kidnapped his kids. When they are sent back to his ex-wife, the vengeful father heads off to the States with Malvo in tow. It's here that the film illuminates in painstaking, terrifying detail the devastating process of how Muhammed turns his surrogate son into a stone killer. It begins when Muhammed orders Malvo, in a malevolent test of loyalty, to kill a woman who testified against him in his child-custody case. Malvo, who barely utters a word, proves an apt and willing pupil. Compassion, of course, dies first. By the time the two take off in a Chevy Caprice, with its trunk fitted with a puncture for easy sniping, the pair's rage has widened to include the whole world. Blue Caprice, propelled by the rending, riveting performances of Washington and Richmond, hits hard. It means to shake you and does.

x