Blue Caprice (quick take)
Thoughtful performances and grim visual elegance aren’t enough to save this portrait of abuse and control twisted into banal evil from becoming too banal to have much bite.
I’m “biast” (pro):
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
I can’t get stop hearing the title of this film as an emotional descriptive, translating as something like “doleful whim.” I suppose it was intentional on the parts of director Alexandre Moors and screenwriter R.F.I. Porto, making their feature debuts here, spinning the make and model of an automobile into something metaphoric. The 2002 Washington DC snipers — the relationship between whom this meditative film aims to explore — actually did drive a blue Chevy Caprice while committing their random murders… which was surely too perfect a symbol to let pass. So it’s a shame the film doesn’t deliver on the depressive double entendre. It’s a familiar sort of dysfunction we see in the unlikely duo of John (Isaiah Washington: Hollywood Homicide), a paranoid man whose, well, capricious violence has brought a restraining order between him and his wife and kids, and Lee (Tequan Richmond), the 15-year-old boy abandoned by his mother and desperate for a male mentor whom John unofficially adopts. But Moors mistakes quietude for introspection, perhaps to make up for Porto’s disappointing lack of insight into how unhealthy male anger and isolation turns to terroristic homicide. Thoughtful performances — also including that by Tim Blake Nelson (As I Lay Dying) — and grim visual elegance aren’t enough to save this portrait of abuse and control twisted into banal evil from becoming too banal to have much bite.